POLL: Should councils axe cash parking and go contactless after concern for older drivers?


Councils across the UK are ditching cash parking machines in favour of going contactless despite concerns around accessibility for older drivers.

A previous study released by the RAC found that one in five drivers have noticed their local authorities forcing them to pay using mobile phone apps instead of coins.

Last year’s report found London was the most affected region while other cities such as Newcastle and Brighton plan to go all digital.

However, the previous poll found there was anger among elderly road users who feel they are being forced out of their city centres.

​​Almost three-quarters of 65-year-olds participating in the survey admitted they were angry over the move while one in five felt discriminated against.

It is understood the recent surge in removals is down to the phasing out of the 3G mobile network which many parking metres run on.

It leaves councils with a difficult decision to spend money on replacing the machines with better technology or getting rid of them completely.

Neil Worth, chief executive at GEM Motoring Assist, has previously warned many road users did not have access to the technology needed to keep up.

Statistics from Careline claim only 80 percent of people over the age of 65 own a smartphone while 55 percent of those over 75 use the internet.

Neil said: “Not everyone has a smartphone, so it is simply not right that parking in our town centres and high streets should be available only to those who do have one.

“It seems a clear case of discrimination against those who cannot – or would rather not – switch to app-based payments.”

Over the summer, the ​​Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said councils had a “duty to ensure that they do not discriminate”. 

Conservative MP Greg Smith, a member of the Transport Select Committee also warned councils should not be “ripping off” road users.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis previously said: “To make the cheapest parking available only to those that use apps is nothing short of discriminatory.

“While there’s no denying that parking apps can make drivers’ lives easier, as everyone with a mobile phone knows the technology is far from infallible – if the signal fails or isn’t strong enough, this leaves drivers who have made every effort to pay to park in an impossible position.

“It can’t be right that those who find themselves in this situation, or who struggle with technology in the first place, end up having to pay more just to park their cars.”

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