Acashless parking system being trialled in an area of south London has caused a rift among residents. RingGo, an app operated system that allows people to pay to park without displaying a ticket, is being trialled in Croydon, Addiscombe and New Addington.
But some locals feel it will make things difficult for the elderly, some of which may not even have smartphones. A Purley resident told MyLondon just that.
She said: “My dad comes here, and he’s in his 70s, he doesn’t have a smartphone. What happens if you don’t have a smartphone? It just assumes that everybody can do it and they can’t. It’s not fair.
Introduced on January 2, the trial will last just three weeks and requires shoppers to register their parking via an app or call a number to pay 20p for one hour.
It is replacing the previous system where drivers got a ticketed free hour with the option to feed a meter for extra time.
But many locals worry it will stifle business. Ersen Yeldener, who runs a dry cleaning business with his mother, said: “I reckon we’re going to lose a lot of trade in the long run.
“Before you couldn’t find a space here, now the streets are empty. No one wants to come down. You may have more free spaces but that’s just because people won’t come because they don’t know how to use it.
“Some people only want to use it for five minutes and don’t want to pay the 20p. Some people don’t want to leave their bank details on RingGo and other people just think Croydon Council is being difficult. It seems like one thing after another.”
Ersen’s mother, Nasibe, said: “Everybody comes in and complains to us like it’s our fault. Yesterday, we had a customer who came in and said, could you watch my car for me when she went out to another shop.”
According to Croydon Council, RingGo is used by over half of London councils, processing 68 percent of all parking in the capital.
However, others welcome the scheme. Sonia, who owns a local beauty salon, saw the benefit for her business. She said: “I think it is better on the whole, it’s stopped people holding onto spaces. People used to get an hour free then keep topping up. Now that is not allowed.”
When approached for comment, a council spokesperson said: “Network providers will soon be shutting off the 3G network and, since ‘pay-and-display’ machines use this network to process payments, the machines will no longer be operational.
“The purpose of this trial is to understand and address any impacts that would come from the removal of the machines.
“For those who still want to pay with cash, we have made payment services available in some local shops as part of the trial.”