DEBIT and credit card payments could be the way forward for motorists using district council-owned car parks in the future.
Currently pay and display measures are in place at all of Stratford District Council’s car parks except Bridgeway multi-storey and surface car parks, which operate under pay-on-exit arrangements.
Drivers can pay with coins or notes, use a permit, the Stratford Card or the council’s RingGo cashless system – a mobile phone service allowing people to use a credit or debit card.
But after machines in the Recreation Ground car park were vandalised earlier this year, new ones – with a pay-by-card functionality – were introduced last month.
Since then, council chiefs have been looking at the possibility of rolling out new machines across the council’s other pay and display car parks to include the pay-by-card facility.
They say the remainder of the existing machines, which were installed back in 2008, are reaching the end of their lives and need to be replaced.
The new machines would include the regular chip and pin facility as well as contactless payment but due to technical issues and their design, it would not be possible for motorists to use the Stratford card or pay using notes.
A report to councillors said: “The existing pay and display parking payment machines on the council’s pay and display car parks are seven years old and need to be replaced.
“Dependent on the future provision of off-street parking services, there is an opportunity to roll out new pay machines with pay-by-card functionality.
“Consideration has been given to installing upgrades to the existing machines that would allow debit/credit card payments to be taken but the supplier cannot guarantee upgrades would be effective.
“In addition to this, the current machines are reaching the end of their useful life and therefore, this option is not recommended.”
A recent consultation into the district council’s car parks revealed around 60 per cent of users would pay by card if the facility were introduced.
According to the report, the cost of replacing the 36 machines with the new facility would be somewhere in the region of £173,000.
Members of the authority’s Cabinet are set to consider the proposal at a meeting on Monday (November 30).