THE new pay and display machines which have been installed in six of Tamworth’s car parks are due to be switched on and up and running by the start of next month.
The new payment machines with alpha-numeric keypads will go live on Tuesday December 1 in the council-run car parks in Aldergate, Bolebridge Island, Church Lane, Holloway, Hospital Street and Mill Lane.
The pay and display machines will require motorists to input their full registration numbers into the new machines when buying a pay and display ticket. ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) cameras installed at the entrance to the car parks will recognise the number plate of vehicles and log the time of entry and purchase of a ticket or cashless transaction. They will also link to the handheld machines used by the Community Wardens.
New signage has also been installed in the six car parks to help motorists understand the new system.
There will be no change to the current parking charges and Blue Badge holders will still be able to park for free, as long as the Blue Badge is displayed clearly and correctly. Disabled drivers, where practicable, will need to enter their registration number into the ticket machine and press a button for free parking.
This will mean a change to the current system for disabled drivers. However, providing a Blue Badge is clearly on display, enforcement officers will not issue any parking charge notices when checking vehicles.
Holders of a valid parking permit will have automatic exemption on entry to the car parks and will not need to enter their registration numbers.
The installation of the new machines – funded by a £50,000 government grant for town centre initiatives – will allow the council to obtain exact figures on car park usage. They will be used for a trial period of 18 months.
The technology will link to the Phone and Pay application – a more convenient parking solution to allow motorists to extend parking time automatically. The machines will also link to ANPR cameras which are being introduced to manage traffic flow and give a more accurate picture about the use of the car parks, peak times and car parking policies for the future development of the town centre.
The introduction of ANPR cameras will not mean that penalties will be automatically sent through the post. Officers will still only be able to issue penalties to cars parked in contravention of the parking orders when witnessed between 8am and 6pm Monday to Saturday.
Cllr Rob Pritchard, Tamworth Borough Council Deputy Leader, said: “The new system is simple and easy for motorists to use. It will be trialled for 18 months to see if it is popular. I want to stress that no parking fines will be issued via the cameras – they are not used for automatic enforcement.
“If the trial is successful, we may look to roll it out to all of our car parks at the end of the trial period. We would very much welcome feedback from the public on the new system.”
The new machines are being installed in partnership with Bemrose Mobile and Creative Parking Solutions to update and improve efficiency and reliability for motorists using Tamworth Borough Council car parks.