“Pay by phone” parking to be extended to “on street” spaces in York

Pay by phone transactions at the York Councils, off street, car parks now account for 27% of the income received.

Drivers mostly use cards to pay for the rest.

Free RingGo Apps halve the time it takes to pay
Parking App

The York Council is now planning to extend Phone/App payments to “on street” spaces. We think this is a move in the right direction.

A review of parking arrangements will also lead to:

  • Streamline process of extension of existing residents parking zones including recruiting extra staff
  •  Pay monthly options for Respark with screen badges scrapped referred to as paperless virtual parking (like the new VED system)
  •  the procurement of a new parking system that will introduce online self-service for customers to become the principle channel for online application and payment for parking permits, visitor vouchers, same day online payment for parking tickets, and to automate the requirement for evidence. Cash will no longer be accepted in council offices for parking permits and all penalty charge notice (PCN)
  • Provide a cashless system in Marygate car park, given most people now use card. This will be subject to the integration of permits (e.g. Minster Badge and Season tickets) into the Pay on Exit technology. Piccadilly car park may also become “pay on exit”
Marygate car park

Huge amounts of money have been spent by the Council equipment and barriers at Marygate in recent years to provide a “pay on exit” option. The equipment – for several years – provided to be unreliable although has improved since the provision of ANPR monitoring.

The report is silent on emerging issues like the provision of on street charging facilities for the growing number of electric vehicles. Some policing of off-street charging points may also be required.

The Council report claims that the move to online service only will save substantial amounts of council staff time. The report says that 50% of visits to West Offices relate to parking issues.

Nevertheless, the absence of a proper business case (including investment and revenue assumptions) , together with achievable implementation milestones, may cause concerns for some taxpayers.  

Council set to lose £60,000 as a result of Marygate car park barrier fails

A report to a meeting next week confirms that the unreliable Marygate car park barriers are responsible for nearly half of an Marygate-car-park-equipment-768x1024estimated £136,000 short -fall in car parking revenue expected by the York Council this year.

It is just over a year ago since barriers were installed at the car park at a cost of over £100,000.  Labour Councillors who approved the change were warned that elsewhere similar (outdoor) systems had been chronically unreliable.

Now the barriers are often locked in a raised position – effectively allowing free parking.

The report identifies a potential overall overspend against budget of £1.9 million. In fairness, this is not without precedent for a first quarter financial review.

Most of the potential deficient occurs from escalating costs for fostering children.

The Council says that “the number of Children Looked After is unlikely to reduce in the foreseeable future”.

The Council Housing account is now forecast to have a surplus of £16.6 million by the end of the year!  As reported on Thursday, housing officials are currently refusing to invest any of the profit in essential estate repairs.

The performance report suggests that little progress has been made so far this year in improving public service standards.

Most of the indicators have been inherited from the last – discredited – Labour administration and in many cases are simply missing altogether (including even results for the year ending 1/4/15 in many cases)

Enviromnet  Aug 2015

Traffic signals and parking barriers still proving to be unreliable in York

Traffic signals

This year to date (1st Jan to 3rd Dec) there have been a total of 696  traffic signal faults reported to the York Council’s maintenance contractors.

This number was 678 for the same period last year.

The Council does not have a means of recording the total duration for which signals have been out of operation; however, for high priority faults in this period – which are recorded in their own indicator – 91% were resolved within 4 hours, compared to 82% for the same period last year.

Marygate car park

Barrier faults have occurred during a total of 17 days since they were introduced at the Marygate car park. Currently income from the car park is less than it was when operated on a pay and display basis.Marygate-car-park-equipment-768x1024

Income from the Marygate car park, from the start of July to the end of October, totalled £231,000 in 2014/15.

The equivalent figure for 2013/14 was £246,000.

The York Council spent £100,000 installing the barrier system at Marygate.

NB. The Council has admitted that due to faults on its automated vehicle counting systems it doesn’t know how many motorists have taken advantage of the free parking offer which is available at some car parks from Thursday to Saturday. 

Overall income from car parking is, however, over £400,000 below budgeted levels.

Marygate car park barrier problems to be questioned.

With the barriers at the Marygate car park apparently out of action again, Liberal Democrat Councillor Keith Hyman has tabled two questions for the Council meeting on Thursday.

Marygate-car-park-equipment-768x1024

The £100,000 scheme was controversial from the start with no provision being made for card payments.

Currently the barriers are raised allowing free car parking.

It is unclear what damage this is doing to the Councils income or whether Labour Councillors will be forced to increase charges at other car parks to make up for any deficit.

The two tabled questions read:

  • (xxv)    “How does the income derived from the Marygate car park, since it had a barrier system installed, compare to the equivalent period last year?”
  • (xxvi) “How many faults have occurred on the new barrier/ticketing installation at Marygate car park and does the Cabinet Member judge the barrier system to have been a success?”

The same cabinet member will be asked to reveal how many drivers have taken advantage of the “free” parking made available, on 3 mornings a week, at some of York’s car parks.

Morning congestion levels have increased recently on routes such as Water End and Fulford Road, with the Councils decision to encourage more rush hour car journeys using the free parking incentive being partly to blame.

It is hoped that the impact on other car parks – and Council income – will be revealed.

Marygate car park barrier scheme cost £100,000

Labour back down and agree to fit card reader payment option by “early autumn”

The Council will fit a credit/Charge car payment option at the new Marygate pay on exit machines.

Marygate car park charges

Although they blame a “national issue with chip and pin devices” the reality is that the Council forgot to include the option in the original design specification.

The new system should not have been brought into service until a choice of payment options was available.

Card payments can be made at other City centre car parks like Piccadilly.

NB. Only about 1000 of the new £20 Minster badges have been sold so far.

Each of York’s 80,000 households is entitled to a badge which replaces the current free badge which was issued when the LibDems were in control of the Council.

There are around 30,000 active Minster Badges currently in use in the City.

From September, anyone without a badge will have to pay the full rate to park during the day and will also lose the right to free evening parking.

Marygate car park – more problems

Marygate car park chargesAs we predicted the new barrier controls at the Marygate car park are causing problems.

The barrier was stuck open on Saturday afternoon

it is impossible to pay for a ticket if the barrier is inoperable, so motorists simply parked for free.

We explained when the barrier scheme was first suggested that reliability would be an issued. So it is proving to be the case.

It is unclear how much revenue the city is losing through unreliability, the improper use of the residents evening free parking ticket system or the inability to pay by card.

The problems are being raised at the Council meeting on Thursday..

Confusion at Marygate car park

Marygate car park equipment

 

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,