Cashless payments trial on way to Norwich car parks

The car park, off Rouen Road in Norwich, which is at the centre of a school versus housing wrangle b

Rouen Road car park is one of the Norwich City Council sites which only takes coins for payment. - Credit: Archant

Cashless payments by smartphone are to be trialled at Norwich car parks run by the city council.

While ticket machines for the multi-storey car parks run by Norwich City Council accept card payments, off-street and on-street car parks run by City Hall currently only accept coins.

The new pound coin for the machine at Rouen Road car park. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Coins could be a thing of the past at Norwich City Council car parks. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

That has been a source of frustration to some drivers who have had to hoard coins to be able to park in the city centre, especially given cashless payments have long been available in South Norfolk, North Norfolk, Great Yarmouth and West Norfolk.

Councillor Mike Stonard. Pic: Archant.

Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council's cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth - Credit: Archant

But Mike Stonard, the Labour-controlled council's cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, said this year would see trials of smartphone payments for tickets at car parks in the city.

Speaking at a recent meeting of the Norfolk Parking Partnership joint committee, Mr Stonard said: "We continue to invest in our parking facilities.

"We are about to trial cashless payments, which we believe will make it much more convenient for car park users.

"Cashless payments mean you can pay while you are in your car over a smartphone.

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"And if you don't have a smartphone, we'll have retailers locally who will sell you a ticket, so cash will be taken out of the system for most people.

"We think that will encourage car park use."

The city council said the timelines and locations for the cashless trial had yet to be confirmed.

It costs the city council £120,000 a year to pay a company to collect all the money which drivers put in its car park machines, the majority of which were installed in 2014.

The council says cashless payments are now used for 70pc of transactions in the council’s multi-storey car parks at St Andrews, Rose Lane and St Giles.

St Andrews Car Park, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

St Andrews Car Park, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Last year, the city council agreed a new contract for a company to collect the money from car parks at a reduced cost of about £90,000 per year.

Along with the three multi-storey car parks, Norwich City Council runs 11 off-street car parks in the city, while on-street payment machines are in numerous streets.

In 2018, the council had said introducing cashless payments would probably result in an increase in the price of parking.