'Thousands of Sheffield motorists could be left stranded if pay and display machines stop accepting cash and cards'

Thousands of Sheffield motorists could be left stranded if pay and display machines stop accepting cash and cards, warn opposition councillors.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 9:30 am

Sheffield Council is looking for a new contractor to handle phone, text, app and online payments at the pay and display machines it owns.

Officers say the service is not designed to replace cash payments but Liberal Democrat councillors have called-in the decision and it will now go before a scrutiny board for more discussion.

Coun Joe Otten said: “This is a very worrying move as research shows thousands of Sheffield residents do not have a mobile phone, and lots more do not regularly carry theirs with them.

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Coun Joe Otten.

“These people will effectively be excluded from parking in the council’s car parks and that is unacceptable.

“The council’s own data shows that around a third of car parking payments are still made with cash.

“We should be making life easier for residents to visit shops and restaurants after Covid, not making people jump through hoops just to park their car.

“We understand that collecting cash from machines costs money. We would prefer that the council at least allows card payments in the smaller car parks where collecting cash is not cost efficient, this would exclude far fewer people.”

In a report, head of parking Ben Brailsford says alternative methods to cash have increased from 11 per cent of total transactions in 2016 to 67 per cent currently.

He said: “The popularity relates to having a better experience for our customers. Where the maximum time limit hasn’t already been purchased, it allows people to extend their parking session remotely without returning to their vehicle.

“It reduces the need for customers to overpay for a session where they are not sure how much time they need, as sessions can be simply extended remotely.

“The text or app reminders help customers be aware when their session is coming to an end, and help prevent overstays which might result in a penalty charge notice being received.

“The cost of parking for customers is the same through using cash or a cashless alternative.”