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UK drivers favour cash and cards over parking apps

According to a recent survey, more than four-in-five drivers in the UK don’t like using the various parking applications that are available.

In fact, 83% of the 1387 respondents stated that they would rather pay for parking using cash or a contactless card than by installing and setting up an account for one of the numerous applications available today.

According to the Autocar poll, drivers were worried about online fraud and thought certain apps were too confusing.

Only 14% of drivers favoured using parking apps over alternative payment methods, according to further results.

They said they were more practical than the actual payment machines.

In the UK, drivers can choose from thirty various parking apps, all of which must be downloaded in order to park in specific locations.

To pay for parking, each of them will require an account and access to personal information.

In October 2023, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Transport Secretary Mark Harper unveiled plans for a “national parking platform” in response to the growing parking difficulties.

The idea is to simplify the parking payment procedure so that vehicles only need to utilise one system, regardless of where they park.

The government said at the time of the announcement that it will go online by the autumn of 2024.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “Paying for parking should be one of the simplest things any driver has to do, yet the reality has been anything but with people forced to download and register a plethora of different mobile apps depending on where they are in the country.

“The roll-out of the National Parking Platform therefore brings about some much-needed simplification and should make drivers’ lives easier.

“However, we remain concerned about the fact some councils seem intent on removing all physical parking ticket machines in favour of app-only payment – something research tells us a clear majority drivers are resolutely against.”

According to a June 2023 RAC study, one-fifth of drivers believe that councils are replacing parking payment machines with smartphone apps or are preparing to do so.

One in ten (11%) of the 1,900 drivers in the UK surveyed said their local authorities had already removed part or all of the parking payment machines, and an additional 8% said they were in the process of consulting on the matter.

Drivers in the capital were most likely to say that payment machines had already disappeared or were about to disappear (44% of respondents), with respondents from the East of England (23%), and East Midlands (22%), following closely behind.

Drivers polled by the RAC expressed strong opposition to the plan to remove physical parking machines and require payment by app, with 59% of them—and 73% of those 65 and older—expressing anger at the thought of parking machines being eliminated. They feel that drivers should have the freedom to pay for parking however they see fit.

Twenty percent of drivers overall and thirty percent of drivers 65 years of age and older reported feeling discriminated against because they were unable to utilise mobile apps to pay for parking in the first place.

Of drivers across all age groups, just three in ten (31%) are totally happy with payment devices being removed (and only 14% of those over 65).

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