Brighton & Hove Council is exploring ways to make paying for parking in the city quicker and easier, and this could include payment by phone calls or text.
Schemes allowing drivers to pay for parking with their phones are already used by other councils including London boroughs, Manchester and Birmingham, and at many hospital car parks and stations, including Brighton station.
The system works by drivers registering their vehicle and card payment details with the service provider. Once registered, these can be managed securely online with a password and login.
When parking, the driver sends the location code displayed on signage, and the length of time they wish to stay. This can be done by text, through an automated phone call or smart phone application. The service provider then sets up the parking session.
On top of the parking charge, the customer who chooses to use this system will pay between 15p and 20p to cover the cost of providing the service. Other services such as reminder texts sent ten minutes before their parking session expires will also be available for a small fee.
Drivers using the scheme will also be able to extend their parking time remotely if for example they are in a meeting or shopping without having to return to their car.
Civil Enforcement officers will be able to check if motorists have paid for parking by logging into the service provider’s system on their handheld device and entering the location code. They will receive a list of the vehicle registrations that have paid to park there.
Evidence from the council’s Citywide parking review show that motorists are clearly in favour of introducing parking payments by phone, 45% saying they would probably use this system. Overall 78% said they wanted to used credit and debit cards for parking.
Councillor Ian Davey, Chair of the Transport Committee, said:
“Paying by phone can be simple and quick and the system is already established in many parts of the country.
“Following requests from residents, visitors and local traders we hope to be able to roll this out in the city by early Summer.”
At a meeting on January 15, Brighton & Hove City Council’s Environment and Sustainability Committee will decide whether to take steps to join the four year scheme being set up by the London Borough of Lambeth and also including the City of Westminster, Transport for London and City of London Corporation.
“Joining the scheme and working with other local authorities will bring added benefits and help keep costs down.”