5 April 2017

New parking machines mean more choice for motorists

New parking machines have been installed across the city as part of a £1.8m investment to allow drivers to pay by card, improve reliability and cut down on theft.

Since 2008, £150,000 has been stolen from parking machines in Brighton & Hove. In a 3 month period last year, there were 51 incidents of theft or attempted theft, netting thieves almost £15,000 and causing £30,000 of damage. Sussex Police have investigated these incidents and some arrests have recently been made.

Since January, the city’s oldest machines have been removed and replaced with machines which accept both chip-and-pin and contactless card payments as well as apple pay.  The majority of these machines needed replacing as they were well past their normal life and beginning to rust.

150 of the new machines accept coins (including the new £1 coin) as well as cards. These are clearly branded as accepting cash and have been strategically placed where they are most likely to be needed.

Drivers can also pay for their parking by phone or in cash at any of the city’s 150 PayPoint outlets by quoting the location code for where they parked, which is displayed on machines and street signs.

Since the introduction of PaybyPhone last year, around half of drivers now pay for their parking by phone. Many are enjoying the advantage of being able to top up their parking using this system without having to go back to the machine or carry change for their parking.

Councillor Gill Mitchell, chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee said:  “The pressing need to replace our old on-street machines gave us an opportunity to introduce a better system.  These changes will mean we have a modern, more reliable system capable of accepting card payments, while still offering drivers the chance to pay by phone, in cash on street and at PayPoint outlets.”

A map and list of the 150 cash and card machines and 150 PayPoint shops where drivers can pay by cash is available online and stickers are being placed on machines with the address of the nearest Paypoint shop.

Official figures show 95 per cent the UK’s population has a bank card.  The figure is likely to be higher among drivers because of their need to pay for vehicle tax and insurance. The Citywide Parking Review survey showed that paying by card was the most popular choice of payment type in the city as drivers don’t need to keep change for the parking machine.

There is no administration fee for card payments at machines.

As well as issuing tickets in the traditional way, the new or upgraded machines which will continue to be rolled out over the next few months, require drivers to key in their registration number. This will make enforcement easier and more efficient   In future, it could also pave the way for a new app to help drivers find vacant on street parking spaces in the city. Live information about which of the city’s main car parks have spaces is published on the council’s website.