Hassle free parking set to save Southwark Council thousands
| 15th Dec 2009|
|Parking in Southwark is now a lot less hassle, as cashless parking has rolled out across the entire borough.|
Motorists all over Southwark no longer have to worry about having the right amount of change and are able to pay for their parking securely over the phone. Once parked, they can extend their stay if necessary without going back to the car and without running the risk of getting a parking fine or Penalty Charge Notice, simply by ringing up the service again. An optional text message service alerts the driver when their parking is due to run out.
Following a successful trial in the north of the borough, Southwark Council has kitted out nearly 400 parking meters across Southwark with the technology to allow drivers to pay over the phone. Paying by coins remains available across the borough at all machines.
This roll-out is the largest local authority expansion programme carried out by the service provider RingGo, which has provided the technology and support for cashless parking in more than 40 local authorities across the UK.
Figures show that the trial in the north of the borough, where it has been available for nearly two years, has been a huge success. There has been a 276% increase in usage of the cashless parking option since it was introduced in the Borough and Bankside area in January 2008.
The trial has already saved the council thousands of pounds in revenue, following a dramatic reduction in vandalism of parking meters, and the necessary repair costs. On top of that the council is projecting a yearly saving of around £50,000 from the reduction in maintenance costs of the existing machines.
Cllr Paul Noblet, executive member for regeneration at Southwark Council, said:
"We're expanding this service to help motorists who don't carry the correct change for our ticket machines because with our cashless parking initiative this isn't an issue. The scheme offers a hassle free way of paying for parking, and an easy option to extend the period by a simple 'top-up' payment. It's already proved massively popular in the north of the borough and we're now really pleased here at the council to be able to offer it to drivers all over Southwark."
Michael Irvine from Surrey has been a regular user of the new payment method since it was introduced:
"Parking is definitely much easier with this system. I come up to this part of London for work at least three times a week, and I find it really useful. One other benefit from being able to pay by phone is that I find it a lot easier to work out my parking expenses, because I can just use the RingGo website and it's so much quicker."
Thomas Lobak, from Hertfordshire, has been using the new payment system for nearly two years. He said:
"I make regular trips to London every week and I find it so much easier than using coins. In the past you would have had to have dozens of coins to be able to park in some parts of London and you'd be constantly looking for change. Now it's great that not only can I pay using my phone, but I can also top up my parking just as easily if I'm away from my car."