Plan to axe parking meters and use digital system

Parking meters may be on their way out. Picture: Rob McDougall

Parking meters may be on their way out. Picture: Rob McDougall

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Edinburgh transport chiefs have drawn up plans which could eventually see thousands of on-street ticket machines axed – replacing old fashioned meters with a city-wide RingGo-style electronic payment system.

The step would banish the cost of maintaining, emptying and replacing meters – sending them the same way as other 20th century innovations that have been replaced with advancing technology.

Transport convenor Councillor Lesley Hinds said the city needed to explore the possibilites offered by a digital payment system.

She said: “The success of RingGo suggests it’s definitely worth trialling cashless parking areas. We’re always open to new ways of using technology to make life easier for drivers and to make our own processes more efficient. However, this is a pilot scheme and our actions will be guided by monitoring the results and the ongoing work on our local transport strategy.”

A major trial of electronic payment is currently being carried out on city Greenways.This will act as a litmus test ahead of a possible roll-out of meter-free parking.

Any possible switch from meters to electronic payment is expected to be phased in over a number of years.

Around 30 per cent of parking in Edinburgh is purchased through the cashless system rather than pay and display machines.

But research conducted by the AA has indicated only two per cent of Scots would support replacing traditional parking meters with a mobile phone debit scheme.

Paul Watters, head of AA public affairs, said of electronic payment: “It’s a faff – not just paying for parking, but for the call and the service charge.”

He pointed to an AA study which indicated 27 per cent of Scots opposed the introduction of mobile phone payments entirely.

Neil Gregg, head of policy with the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said cashless ticketing was “the future”.

“People have got to get used to this because we are heading towards this method of payment and parking, like most things, will end up being cashless,” he said.

“Consumers come in all shapes and sizes but ultimately, as we have seen with the demise of the cheque, elderly people are coping with that and those in the future are going to be able to deal with that.”

Motorists can currently pay for city centre parking via the RingGo system which allows over-the-phone transactions using debit cards.

From cutting edge to gathering dust

PARKING meters are not the only once cutting-edge technology now teetering on the brink of oblivion. The advent of digital cameras and camera phones has seen traditional camera film, though still used by some professonal photographers, all but gone from the average person’s life.

And as more and more people switch to external hard drives and cloud computing, floppy discs and CDs, once the failsafe of computer users around the globe, can be found gathering dust in most offices and homes.

The VCR, once the epitome of “keeping up with the Joneses” has also fallen a long way since the 1980s, when video recorders were the height of cool.