Pay-by-phone parking proves a big hit with Winchester motorists

It has only been two months since Winchester City Council began trialling its new pay-by-phone parking system, but it has already proved to be a big hit with motorists; with almost three and a half thousand phone transactions having already been made.

The new system, which is operated by an American company called Verrus, has helped to remove much of the hassle associated with paying for parking. For a start, there is no longer any need for motorists to fumble around for change for the parking machines. Instead they can simply register with the pay-by-phone system and pay by card.

The system also solves the age-old problem of estimating how long you need to park for. Motorists can now simply pay for a minimal period of time and then top-up the time via their mobile phone as-and-when they need to. Registered users will receive text alerts on their phones when their parking session is due to expire; they then have the option to return to their car or to extend their parking session at the press of a few buttons.

There is no need to display any proof of purchase tickets in the vehicles, as Parking Attendants are equipped with special hand held devices which enable them to identify which vehicles are lawfully parked. These devises are immediately updated whenever a transaction is made.

The new pay-by-phone system does not come at the expense of the traditional ticket machines. Motorists who still want to use the coin operated machines to pay for their parking will still be able to do so.

Richard Hein, Parking Manager at Winchester City Council, said: "The new pay-by-phone system has certainly been a great success to date; offering our car park customers greater flexibility in the way they pay for their parking. The new system gives them the added convenience of being able to pay by card if they don't have the correct change. It also allows them to pay-by-phone whilst on the move or if they are unexpectedly delayed in getting back to their vehicle.

Keith Wood, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning and Access, added: "I am really pleased that there has been such a good take-up of this new system. Pay-by-phone parking is part of a wider programme to make our car parks more customer friendly."

The success of Pay-by-phone parking comes on the back of several high profile awards for the City Council managed car parks throughout the city. The most recent of these awards acknowledged the steps taken by the City Council to make its car parks safer and more accessible for motorists.