Seven in 10 drivers avoid ‘robot’ parking payment systems

Drivers avoid pay-by-card parking spots because they are put off by voice-controlled payment systems, a survey has revealed.

Some 70 per cent of motorists would rather park elsewhere than use the pay-by-phone meters, a poll by the AA found.

People are put off by administration fees and robotic phone systems, the motoring organisation said.

Almost two-thirds of drivers struggle to find the right coins for parking as many machines not giving change.

Local councils told the AA they intended to introduce new pay-by-phone systems because they are quicker and more efficient.

But AA head of roads policy Jack Cousens warned that this could create further issues.

He said: “Parking in town centres can be troublesome at the best of times.

“Not only can it be a struggle to find a space, but now when you do find one you may be required to talk to an automated system to pay the charge – not ideal if you have an appointment or just want to get in and get out quickly.

“More than half of drivers (52 per cent) don’t care how they pay, as long as it is easy to do so.”

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The survey found that pensioners and drivers on low-incomes would rather drive on than use the automated pay systems.

While others said they were put off by administration fees and many machines not accepting the new 12-sided £1 coin.

He added: “All providers should make it easier to pay for parking. Not everyone has a smartphone to pay via an app and not everyone is keen to talk to a robot to pay for an hour’s stay. For the elderly and low income drivers, pay by phone feels almost discriminatory.”

A spokesman for the Local Government Association, representing more than 370 councils in England and Wales, said: “Councils offer a variety of ways to pay for parking, and paying by phone can be a quick and convenient way to do so.

“As the AA’s own research shows, 76 per cent of councils in England have already converted the parking machines they’re responsible for to accept the new £1 coin. Others are well on the way towards doing so.

“But having a range of options to pay for parking, for residents and visitors, is the best way for councils to serve the needs of their local communities.”

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