Pay and display parking machines set to be scrapped across the UK
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Pay and display parking machines are set to be scrapped across the UK, in a move that could have a ‘disastrous’ impact on some drivers, experts warn.
Councils across the country are set to be scrapping traditional pay and display machines but this could lead to some motorists being ‘alienated’.
In London, the boroughs of Bromley and Enfield are set to get rid of all of their machines by early April while the borough of Harrow bid farewell to its machines in January.
Other boroughs in capital that have removed some of their machines include Barking and Dagenham, Merton and Richmond.
Westminster City council is well ahead of the pack after it removed all of its pay and display parking machines back in 2019.
Outside of the capital, Brighton and Hove city council will reportedly remove its parking machines by 31 May.
The change is happening because mobile phone operators are switching off the 3G data networks which power the meters, The Times reports.
As mobile providers prepare to switch off their 3G networks, councils are blaming the cost of switching the meters over to 4G.
Both Vodafone and EE will turn off their respective 3G networks by the end of the year, while Three will turn theirs off in 2024. Vodafone already switched off its 3G network in Plymouth and Basingstoke on 28 February.
Motorists in these areas will now have to depend on using smartphone apps to pay for their parking spaces but one of the issues customers tend to have is the fact there’s so many of them.
The app used by a council may differ and with there being up to 30 to choose from, that will likely take up a lot of storage space on your smartphone and time and data spent downloading them all.
Some of the most popular apps include Parkopedia, Just Park and PayByPhone and ParkMe but the biggest is RingGo, which has had up to 515,000 downloads.
Not only do customers often complain about the slow download speeds for the apps, having to register and potentially missing out on trains, appointments or other activities, there are also concerns about the changes excluding older drivers who may not be very tech savvy.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, emphasised the importance of having an alternative system for older drivers. She told The Times: "The news that we may soon see the end of pay and display parking is disastrous for anyone without a smartphone, including millions of older people who are struggling with the shift away from the coin-in-the-slot payment methods they used throughout their lives.”
The British Parking Association claimed that the ‘majority of people welcome the convenience of using apps to keep track and manage their parking time’ but admitted that 'this technology may alienate some people, including the elderly'.
Nicholas Bennett, Bromley executive councillor for transport, said: “As a pensioner myself, I appreciate that some people have a problem with modern technology.
“However, we are talking about people who drive a ton and a half of steel, which requires more skill than downloading an app.”