Parking to be made easier with contactless pay
Published on 10th August 2018
Contactless pay is part of a package of improvements coming to the Regent Arcade car park.
From next month, visitors to the car park will benefit from an improved range of payment options thanks to new technology. The new equipment will be fully operational by Monday 3 September.
Upon entry into the car park, visitors can simply use their contactless debit or credit card and using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), payment will automatically be taken from the cards as the vehicle leaves the car park. This means that customers will not need to spend time at a payment machine.
Customers wishing to pay by another method can take a ticket upon entry and pay at the end of their stay, using cash and other contactless methods including Apple Pay and Google Pay at the brand new payment machines. The existing machines will remain in place until the system is live.
In line with other car parks around the borough and following an earlier public consultation, prices will increase slightly when the new service goes live. As part of the changes, there will also be charges for Blue Badge holders. This supports the borough council’s wider ambition of encouraging people to move towards public transport for journeys in and around the town centre, which in turn offers health benefits and improves air quality.
To enable work to start, access to the Regent Arcade car park will be restricted intermittently on Monday 13 August between 10.30am and 2pm so that the new equipment can be delivered. New signage will also be introduced to explain the new system and new charges.
Councillor Andrew McKinlay, cabinet lead for development and safety said: ‘’I am pleased that we have a better solution for customers using Regent Arcade car park, which will now offer a range of easy ways to pay for parking. Whilst we recognise that Blue Badge holders will now be asked to pay, I would urge all customers to consider how they travel around the town centre, with public transport and Shopmobility services offering increased opportunities for people to get into the heart of Cheltenham.’’
Restrictions of three hours maximum free parking in all other Cheltenham Borough Council car parks will be introduced in a phased approach from 3 September and notices of the changes will be displayed at least a month in advance. This will bring the concession into line with on-street parking restrictions. This is part of the council’s overall strategy to facilitate access for shoppers and others accessing town centre services and to encourage more sustainable methods of access, particularly by bus provision. The change will also help to discourage all day parking by commuters.
For more information about how Shopmobility services can help residents and visitors as they travel around the town centre, including the popular ‘meet and greet’ service, visit www.cheltenham.gov.uk/shopmobility
To view a map which identifies disabled parking bays, visit www.cheltenham.gov.uk/disabled-parking-bays
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Notes: Parking charges in Cheltenham Borough Council car parks rose this year for the first time in eight years on 1 March. Increased charges in Regent Arcade car park were postponed to coincide with completion of the new parking system carried out later this month.
For more information about parking and car parking charges in Cheltenham Borough Council run car parks, visit the council’s website: www.cheltenham.gov.uk/parking
Increased charges were informed by recommendations made in an independent parking strategy report.
The council’s Cabinet approved the parking strategy in June 2017, which was endorsed by a cross-party working group, including the principle of some changes to parking charges based on the location of each car park. In certain cases, changes to the duration of parking periods have also been made to help manage congestion. The council is aiming to balance the cost and convenience of car travel against other more sustainable modes of travel, such as public transport, walking and cycling, whilst trying to create a higher turnover of parking spaces for visitors and those accessing local services closer to the town centre.
Results from a survey carried out for the authority indicated that residents and visitors generally felt that having a good availability of parking spaces and payment options was more important to them than the level of charges when planning their visit.
All income brought in from parking charges in Cheltenham is ploughed back into local services, including car parking and parks and gardens maintenance, helping to ensure the quality of the town’s offer to visitors and residents alike.