Update on Parking Machines
To receive the above update.
Neil Walter, Parking Principal, explained all 118 machines had been installed by the end of March 2019 and were all fully operational. By the end of June 2019, £867,000 of transactions had been completed, and of those, 32% were using Advantage Cards. There were still some issues with Advantage Cards and they were either barcode issues or system errors. The Parking Principal had met with over 100 people to help with Advantage Card issues and some had needed to be replaced.
The machines experienced some down time on 18 July 2019 with the debit and credit card facility but, that was a nationwide issue and the third time the service had gone down in the last six months. The Council was due to put a capital bid in for the on-street parking to get the new machines as they all needed to be replaced.
The Parking Principal confirmed he had been working with the Audit Team to identify individual Advantage Cards being used several times in a very short space of time. Once the findings were known a report would go to the Corporate Leadership Team to produce some recommendations to prevent fraud and to recommend which course of action they want his team to take; it was very easy to turn off an Advantage Card.
The Parking Team had noticed there were workers and residents that were buying three parking pay and display tickets per day for £4 and the practice had risen 56% so that was being looked into. The Parking Principal added that in June 2019, three parking machines had attempted break ins but, as they were different machines to the previous ones, the thieves could not get the money out but, one machine was damaged beyond repair.
David Birch stated he had been to the library twice to get a paper barcode for the machines and he had rang the Town Hall to inform the Council his Advantage Card was not working; it worked in Victoria Street car park but, not at Datchet Train Station. He said there was often a queue of people who were unable to use their Advantage Cards so others whose cards worked were offering people to use theirs instead. It was a very frustrating system and a sign needed to be erected so that the instructions on how to use the machines were clear and easy to follow. The Parking Principal responded he was happy to test Mr Birch’s Advantage Card at the end of the meeting. He had asked the machine suppliers if the process of using Advantage Cards could be simplified but, the Borough was one of only two Council’s that used a discount scheme for residents. the Borough wanted to remove the need to press the yellow button twice. Residents should just be able to scan their card and it work straight away. He informed the Forum there was a very good video posted onto the Council’s website that gave clear instructions on how to use Advantage Cards with the parking machines. The machines did have an instruction panel and on screen instructions on how to use them.
Councillor Tisi stated she was a little concerned for people that worked in the Town Centre and used Victoria Street Car Park with their Advantage Card multiple times in a day; she was worried that people would not have anywhere to park if that facility was discontinued at Victoria Street Car Park. The Parking Principal replied some car parks had a maximum stay limit and any changes to those would be a decision for Members if they wanted to tolerate that. The audit was more for people allowing others to use their Advantage Cards that were not entitled to.