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Upgrading your parking payment facilities

Upgrading your parking payment facilities

We are upgrading the payment facilities for parking in Merton.

Currently, customers can pay either using RingGo cashless parking, or by cash at a pay-and-display machine. The key changes we are making are:

  • replacing around 80 cash-only pay-and-display machines with new payment terminals in October 2021
  • establishing a network of PayPoint retail outlets where drivers can pay by cash from autumn 2021
  • removing (and not replacing) some payment machines where there is another one close by.

Over 76% of customers currently pay using RingGo, and will continue to pay in the way they currently do.

Parking Charges Payment Upgrade - Traffic Order Documents

New payment terminals

The new terminals will accept chip card and contactless payments, and the most heavily used ones will also accept coins. All will also have larger, brighter screens.

Customers will enter their vehicle registration number using a keyboard and there will be no need for a paper parking ticket, which will bring environmental benefits.

We are proposing to replace around 80 machines with new terminals. The approach is set out below.

Type of machine

New terminal details

Rationale

High volume: receiving over £5,000 a year (28 on streets, 14 in car parks)

Coin, chip card and contactless

To assist customers with a smooth transition.

Medium volume: receiving £3,000 - £5,000 a year (33 on streets, 3 in car parks)

Chip card and contactless (no coin)

To assist customers with a smooth transition.

We will install an extra payment terminal at some locations.

Machines due to be decommissioned will be covered with special corsets over the summer and autumn explaining the new ways to pay.

PayPoint network

A cash payment option will be available at PayPoint retailers, of which there are 55 near to parking areas. When a customer enters a PayPoint location the customer would pay the shopkeeper in cash and their session would be uploaded to the RingGo solution. This is a payment option that is already in use across other London boroughs, however with the migration to cashless options the uptake remains very low.

Background

The age of digital parking is with us and cashless parking will continue to be more widespread in the coming years. Already ‘contactless’ parking exists at thousands of payment terminals around the country and many London boroughs have gone completely cashless.

Payment by phone and online applications has transformed the way in which customers can pay for their parking sessions and permits. Councils have been moving to more digital payment solutions for many years. This scheme affords Merton an opportunity to review the payment options and infrastructure available to residents and visitors. This has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic as contactless payments are considered more ‘COVID-safe’.

Nationally, over 95% of the UK population own at least one mobile phone and 96% have a bank card. Given the requirements to register, insure and run a vehicle, it is very likely that a motorist will have access to a bankcard.

Users of the RingGo cashless parking service already have the ability to:

  • pay without the need of coins,
  • pay at their convenience and not have to use a payment terminal and display a ticket,
  • extend their parking session,
  • receive SMS reminders about the expiry of their session,
  • review their parking history and preferences.

We currently operate 434 pay-and-display machines: 392 on streets, 38 in car parks, and 4 in recreational grounds. Payment at these machines can be made by cash only.

At each pay and display machine location, customers are offered the option to pay by telephone call, SMS or mobile app using RingGo, as well as at the machine.

In recent years, there has been a steady growth in payments made by RingGo and a decline in customers paying by cash. In the period 2019/20, 70% of payments were made using RingGo.

As at April 2021 the RingGo usage is at 76% and coins at 24%. There has been an approximate 1% movement to RingGo from coins each month for the last 24 months. We expected that this trend will continue, and may accelerate given these proposals.

There are a number of machines close to each other that serve the same parking area. Multiple machines will be removed and not replaced as an alternative machine will remain available.

Many of our current machines are over 10 years old and the cost to repair and maintain the existing estate of machines continues to rise.

These changes were agreed at Cabinet on 12 July 2021.