Northern Ireland

No-cash parking trial extended beyond Belfast

On street parking (generic picture)
Image caption The trial scheme is to be extended to four cities and towns outside Belfast

A trial scheme which means drivers can park without having to find coins for a meter is being extended beyond Belfast for the first time.

Motorists can use a credit or debit card to pay over the phone, online or using a smart phone.

Transport Minister Danny Kennedy said the cashless system was successful in Belfast and he was glad to extend it to Londonderry, Newry, Lisburn and Omagh.

The scheme has been used almost 40,000 times since it started in February.

Users are billed for their parking at the end of each month and traffic wardens know they have paid for their space by entering the vehicle registration into a live database.

"We have had excellent customer feedback during our evaluation of Northern Ireland's first cashless pay by mobile phone parking scheme," said the transport minister.

"The scheme provides a viable alternative to coins at parking machines allowing a credit or debit card payment substitute and it gives people a convenient way to extend their parking stay.

"Nearly 40,000 calls have been recorded since the schemes introduction last February, a clear indication that motorists have benefited from using the Belfast service and it makes sense to give other towns which have pay and display parking the same opportunity to make use of the scheme."

Peter O'Driscoll from Parkmobile, which supplies the system, said: "Depending on motorists' personal preferences, they can start their parking by a short phone call, activating online, or via one of the Parkmobile parking apps available on iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

"We know that when it comes to cashless parking, it is important not to try to be a one-size-fits-all company.

"Customers vary greatly in their use of technology and their parking needs and it is important that we have a broad approach and appeal to all user groups."

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