STAFFORD Borough Council’s decision to trial a “cashless” parking scheme now has been branded “ludicrous” by a Stafford councillor.
Bill Simpson has questioned the decision to trial the scheme, which enables motorists to buy or top up their parking sessions using mobile phones or the internet, before the new Riverside multi-storey car park is built.
He said that motorists already struggled to find spaces in some town car parks and the option to extend parking sessions remotely would not help other motorists looking for parking spaces.
His comments came in response to a report on the cashless scheme given to last week’s joint parking committee.
The four car parks trialling the scheme are the Civic Centre and Tenterbanks short stays and Castle Hill and Lammascote long stays. Those who use cashless parking can pay electronically instead of using a pay and display machine.
Benefits include not having to carry the correct loose change and the ability to extend a parking session without having to return to a vehicle providing the extended session does not overrun the maximum permitted stay at that car park.
Councillor Frances Beatty, presenting the report to the committee, said: “I think it is a very good news story as it gives options for people in town.”
But Councillor Simpson said: “We are short of car parking spaces now in short stays. To introduce this before we get the Riverside development is absolutely silly.
"The Civic Centre short stay, is continuously full. To introduce the system at present to me is ludicrous.”
The report said the scheme was introduced “in response to public demand for a method other than the traditional pay and display where customers have to predict and pay for their length of stay prior to leaving their vehicle”.
“If they want to stay longer they have to return to their vehicle and pay for more parking, and may be inclined to leave rather than stay.”