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Majority of drivers avoid pay-by-phone parking bays

Date: 10 August 2017   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

Motorists are shunning parking spaces that require them to pay using a mobile phone, new research has suggested.

According to a survey conducted by the AA of 16,500 members, 70% of respondents said they're more likely to drive by rather than park in a spot that requires payment by phone or an app.

The motoring organisation said that drivers still prefer to pay for parking in cash. However, 64% admitted that it is often hard to find the right change for the machine, possibly because the units may not give change.

Two-thirds (44%) of those surveyed also said they would find moving to a pay-by-phone model a challenge as they mainly pay for things in cash, while 70% said they are skeptical about using the systems as they can often carry an administration fee.

According to the AA, pensioners are the most likely to drive off and park elsewhere when faced with a pay-by-phone machine (79%). In addition, men are more likely to forgo the hassle of paying by phone than women (71% versus 69%).

"Parking in town centres can be troublesome at the best of times," said Jack Cousens, head of roads policy at the AA. "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."

He added: "More than half of drivers (52%) don't care how they pay, as long as it is easy to do so. Putting administration fees on parking, having to enter your registration number or failing to provide change are all stumbling blocks our struggling high streets cannot afford if they deter potential customers. 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."

Responding to the AA's survey on parking payment methods, an LGA spokesman 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."