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Pay by phone parking in Brighton and Hove - but it will cost extra 15p
Motorists will soon be able to pay for their parking by phone – but at an extra cost of 15p.
Brighton and Hove City Council believes the move, which could see people pay by making a call, sending a text or using an app, would make it quicker for motorists when leaving their vehicles in its 25,000 spaces.
But drivers will have to pay extra to foot the cost of providing the service, despite other local authorities waiving the charge, except when bookings are made by text.
Councillors agreed earlier this year to join a four-year scheme set up by the London Borough of Lambeth and also including the City of Westminster, Transport for London and the City of London Corporation.
But Lambeth council which runs the scheme does not charge people except a fee of 10p when people pay by text.
Executive director Geoff Raw said: “Brighton & Hove City Council is charging 15p to cover the cost of the service, which is in addition to our existing on-street pay and display scheme.
“Councils opting not to charge for the service are those that are removing, or have removed, nearly all of their pay and display machines (ie Westminster).
“These councils use the saving made from not having to service their parking machines to cover the cost of the pay by phone scheme.
“We have chosen to retain pay and display and offer motorists a choice of using machines or opting for the new phone based user friendly service.
“We will closely monitor take up of the cashless parking service.
"The cost of optional texts such as reminders that a parking session is about to expire, is 15p and will be the same in Lambeth.”
Steve Percy, of the People’s Parking Protest, said the 15p charge is a “stealth tax”.
He said: “If you go to a machine and buy a ticket, you pay for the cost of your ticket. If you buy it through this service, you pay 15p more. What’s the point? To me it seems nothing more than a sneaky way of bumping up the cost of parking.
“I think the council is going to phase out the meters which would then create a predicament for people who don’t have mobile phones.”
According to a public notice, the method will be made available in both on-street and off street car parks. It will not be extended to barrier car parks, such as the recently refurbished Regency Square and Trafalgar Street multi-storeys.
Similar schemes already operate in areas of London, Manchester and Birmingham, as well as Brighton Station.
Drivers have to register their vehicle and card payment details with the service provider and then send a location code displayed on a sign when parking, and the length of time they wish to stay.
They can extend their parking time remotely without having to return to their car.
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