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LIB DEMS OFFER PAY-BY-PHONE PARKING

September 30, 2010 6:12 PM
Charles Royden

Cllr Charles Royden, Environment and Transportation Portfolio Holder

Motorists in Bedford Borough will no longer need to make sure they have the right cash to pay for a parking ticket from 1st November. Instead, all they will need is a mobile phone!

Working in partnership with RingGo, Bedford Borough Council is pleased to announce that motorists will soon be able to pay for their parking by mobile phone, including an iPhone app. The option to pay by cash remains unchanged.

In the coming weeks, signs will be attached to cash payment machines and put up in the pay and display car parks explaining that payment can now be made over the phone as well as with cash. Motorists will simply dial a phone number (charged at local rate) which takes them through an automated system to pay for their parking by credit or debit card. Drivers will no longer need to carry change to use at a pay and display ticket machine - especially welcome in the rain or at night.

The cost of introducing the system is less than £10,000. Experiences at other local authorities suggest introducing the system leads to an increase in the number of motorists paying their parking charges meaning the capital costs are likely to be recouped well within the first year of operation.

Councillor Charles Royden, Liberal Democrat Portfolio Holder for the Environment and Transport, said: "I have always believed it is absolutely vital we work with residents wherever possible. By offering another option for motorists to pay for their parking we are continuing that promise."

"The service provided by RingGo offers an excellent option for motorists to pay for their parking quickly and easily, without the need to carry around pockets of change. The technology is already being used by other local authorities across the country and I am delighted we are able to introduce it here.

"The vast majority of motorists have a mobile phone meaning there really is no reason not to pay for your parking. Where people continue to purposefully disregard parking regulations, we will continue to proactively enforce.

Terry New, Sales Director for RingGo added: "With the wintry cold, dark mornings starting already, we're sure motorists in Bedford will appreciate the option of paying for their parking from the comfort of their car, rather than using coins at the machine. The option to top up your parking (within the maximum time limit of the chosen parking bay) with a simple phone call is also particularly helpful if you're running late, enjoying a coffee with friends, or just wanting to spend that little bit longer in the shops."

Alongside the new payment service and as part of the Council's drive to deliver efficiencies across all service areas, the Council is identifying cash payment machines which are more than 10 years old and may be due for replacement.

Cllr Charles Royden added: "Bedford Borough Council is responsible for around 150 payment machines, some of which need increasingly regular repairs. New machines cost about £3,000 and breakdowns mean that the machines are out of use for motorists.

"We are embarking upon a replacement scheme carefully assessed upon criteria of age, reliability and use to ensure resources are only spent where vital.

"The introduction of the RingGo pay-by- phone system will reduce the number of replacement pay-and-display machines as well as eliminate any inconvenience and frustration for the motorist. Other local authorities have also found the introduction of the new technology has led to a reduction in repair costs at existing cash payment machines."