Two-thirds of drivers avoid pay-by-phone parking bays

New pay-by-phone parking systems introduced by councils are putting drivers off, according to new research

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More than two-thirds of UK drivers avoid parking bays that require payment via an app, phone call or text message rather than cash, a new study has found.

Despite UK councils replacing many of the cash operated parking machines with phone and voice controlled systems, 70 per cent of 16,000 drivers surveyed said they are more likely to drive past parking options with these payment methods in search of a cash operated system.   

• Best parking app for your phone: Group test 

The same proportion of drivers said they were sceptical about phone operated systems as they suspect they often carry additional administration fees. Drivers also admitted they prefer to pay for things by cash, despite declaring they may not always have the correct change. 

The news comes after previous research by the AA highlighted that one in five UK councils is yet to convert all of its parking machines to accept the new £1 coin.

An investigation by the motoring organisation found 74 out of the 340 councils still have machines that do not take the new coin. Some authorities such as Lewes in East Sussex have no compatible machines and admitted they won’t have converted them in all their car parks until December 2017, two months after the old £1 coin stops being legal tender on October 15. 

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Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA said: “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.”

He added: “More than half of drivers (52%) don’t care how they pay, as long as it is easy to do so. Putting administration fees on parking, not yet accepting the new £1 coin, having to enter your registration number or failing to provide change are all stumbling blocks our struggling high streets cannot afford if they deter potential customers.” 

What do you think of paying for parking with your phone? Tell us in the comments below...

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