Liberal Democrats have raised concerns over changes made to a city-centre car park ahead of this weekend’s Tour De France.
The changes, introduced earlier this week, will mean that motorists will no longer have the option to pay by mobile phone at the council-owned car park on Marygate.
More surprisingly there is no option to pay by debit or credit card with only cash payments accepted.
Liberal Democrats say the move is a step backwards and has not been properly advertised. The changes are believed to have cost £100,000 with the installation of new ticket barriers.
Usually Labour Cabinet members are falling over themselves to have their photographs taken next to their latest vanity project. But they have been strangely quiet on this one.
The Council haven’t even formally announced the change through a media release.
And no one has yet admitted responsibility for the decision not to accept charge card payments.
The move follows the unpopular introduction of a new charge which means residents will have to pay £20 for a Minster Badge parking pass.
Cllr Ann Reid, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Transport, commented:
“The poorly advertised changes at Marygate represent a step-backwards for car parks in York as the pay by phone option will no longer be available meaning that motorists will no longer be able to use their cards to pay. As more and more services become cashless, it seems that Labour run York Council is going the opposite way.
“There are some serious questions to be answered about spending £100,000 on the changes at the same time as asking residents to pay £20 for their discount Minster Badge. I don’t think local people will believe this represents value for money.
“I am also concerned that these changes have been poorly advertised and many drivers will turn-up at Marygate expecting to be able to pay by card, but will instead have to trudge to a cash machine. Introducing the scheme just days before the busy Tour De France weekend is also questionable.”
Foreign language instructions, clearly still visible, state that credit card payments can be made.
Yesterday several bewildered visitors were wandering around the car park asking for help with “change”.
The machine claims to give “change” but whether it could always be stacked up with a big enough float of £1 coins to fulfil this promise remains to be seen,