UK motoring group AA calls on councils to stop pay-by-phone parking

09 Aug 2017


UK motoring group AA has called on councils to stop further introduction of pay-by-phone parking as motorists are "too busy" to speak to robots.

In research it conducted, the group found that cashless parking machines which accept payment by calling or texting an automated service, are not used by two thirds of motorists.

In response to the survey, around 70 per cent of motorists said they were more likely to keep searching for a space, rather than parking in one where using their mobile to pay is mandatory.

Making payment by phone or text can take several minutes as the process involves calling a number, selecting appropriate options, entering payment details, and then waiting for confirmation.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy at the AA, has warned councils against installing the machines as it would pose a significant inconvenience to drivers with busy schedules.

According to The Telegraph report, which quoted him, "Parking in town centres can be troublesome at the best of times.

"Not only can it be a struggle to find a space, but now when you do find one you may be required to talk to an automated system to pay the charge - not ideal if you have an appointment or just want to get in and get out quickly.''

Nearly 80 per cent of pensioners who responded to the survey said they would rather drive on rather than use the machines. Drivers on low incomes were also likewise disposed to drive on in the same proportion. 

"All providers should make it easier to pay for parking. Not everyone has a smartphone to pay via an app and not everyone is keen to talk to a robot to pay for an hour's stay. For the elderly and low-income drivers, pay-by-phone feels almost discriminatory," Cousens said.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association, which represents local authorities, said: "Councils offer a variety of ways to pay for parking, and paying by phone can be a quick and convenient way to do so.

"As the AA's own research shows, 76 per cent of councils in England have already converted the parking machines they are responsible for to accept the new £1 coin. Others are well on the way towards doing so.

"Having a range of options to pay for parking, for residents and visitors, is the best way for councils to serve the needs of their local communities."

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