Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Ticket system to change at Lode Lane car park

THE pay-on-exit scheme at Lode Lane car park in Solihull is to be scrapped in favour of pay and display.

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Council bosses have also announced the April introduction of pay and display instead of pay-on-exit will be extended to March at Mell Square car park.

Pay-on-exit systems allow drivers to take a ticket when they enter the car park and pay when they leave.

But Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council said these require parking attendants to be continually deployed while pay and display reduces staff, saving cash.

It scrapped pay-on-exit at Mell Square following attacks on machines which have damaged its infastructure. Repairs would cost at least £150,000 the council said.

But it said the Lode Lane pay-on-exit system “newer, more secure, in better condition and importantly can still be effectively serviced as parts are still manufactured”.

It said the system “continues to run well” and has not been hit by attacks.

Yet the council said it is “ideal” to trial pay-and-display as “it is the least used of all car parks” from February, at a cost of £126,000.

It said: “This will enable more customers to see the benefits that this system can bring in terms of credit / debit card payments and the use of mobile phones to pay for and extend parking duration remote from the car park.”

The council said it will refurbish pay-on-exit system at Marks & Spencer car park.

Critics have said the introduction of pay and display is an attempt by the council to raise income as drivers will guess at how long they are staying, paying more.

But the council said income for the £80,000 Mell Square scheme was “significantly down” in May as customers probably rejected the new system.

Comparable 2011 figures are not available, it said, adding three free hours at nearby Morrison’s supermarket was hitting takings.

Some 97,911 tickets were sold from April to July, bringing the council £239,497.

It said: “What is not clear is the longer term financial impact from a loss of income that relates to the deployment of Pay and Display. It is also not clear if this is permanent.”

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