The TaFF gave consideration to the use of cash and alternative contactless payment methods in car parks. Contactless card payments, mobile phone payments and cash could currently be used in all council car parks. The revenue streams for online payments, card payments in car park machines (chip and pin and contactless) and pay by mobile phone were all increasing year on year. This has been exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic, with forced behaviour changes and people using cash less. It was felt that people would naturally cease using cash.
It was noted that there were a number of issues associated with cash, including the cost of collection, along with the risk of theft and attempted theft (which resulted in large repair/replacement costs). The Forum agreed that the same price should be charged for a parking ticket, whatever payment method was used, but that administration and maintenance costs should be built into this.
The Service Lead – Environmental Health and Car Parks reported that five years ago a cashless/cardless car park was trialled in Beer, with people only being able to pay by mobile phone. This appeared to be unpopular at the time, but the use of contactless payment methods had increased since then. It was suggested that in future only cashless card machines be installed in car parks over the next few years when machines were being replaced. It was noted that visitors to the area tended to use cashless payments options more than local residents.
Digital transformation over the years now meant that customers could only purchase parking permits online, although there were technical issues at times and staff had to help some customers. The Service Lead – Environmental Health and Car Parks felt that the cash option in car parks should not yet be turned off. The Forum suggested that a pilot be undertaken whereby two machines in the same car park be used, one with the cash payment option being turned off and only card/mobile phone options being available, but with another machine in the same car park being available for cash purchases.
It was noted that soon Ringo would be the mobile app required for all on and off street parking across Devon.
Members felt that car parking signage was incredibly busy and at times confusing. A request was made for this to be ‘slimmed down’. The Service Lead – Environmental Health and Car Parks suggested that revised simplified signage could be an issue for the TaFF to consider at a future meeting.
1. that in order to encourage the use of cashless payments in car parks a trial be undertaken in a car park with multiple payment machines, making just one machine available for cash use.
2. that the signage in car parks be reviewed by officers in order to simplify it, with revised wording being brought back to the TaFF.
3. that more prominent messaging be added to car park signage notifying East Devon residents of the annual permit available online.
4. that for the time being the same tariff be used for all payment methods.