Why have pay and display machines been removed?

The pay and display machines in place in more than 130 locations around the borough were old and prone to breaking down. Maintaining the machines and rectifying faults was taking a considerable amount of time due to difficulties in sourcing parts. We recognised the increasing frustration caused by the level of faulty or out of service pay and display machines and the impact this was having on the quality of service experienced by our customers.

With the increase in demand for the cashless service and decrease in pay and display machine usage, at a meeting of the Environment and Community Services Policy Development and Scrutiny Committee held on 13 November 2019, it was agreed in consultation with the Portfolio Holder, that delegated authority would be given to the Director of Environment and Public Protection for the removal of pay and display machines across the borough. 

Since this decision was made, machines around the borough have been consistently removed with the most recent removal project agreed in November 2021. This project which involved removal of a further 66 machines, 53 on street and 13 off-street/car parks, was completed in September 2022.

Also, for performance monitoring and communication purposes, all our pay and display machines were installed with 3G sim cards.  As such, they would have been affected by the ‘3G sunset’ whereby mobile phone providers cease to support 3G sim cards.  Vodaphone confirmed that they would cease to support the 3G network from February 2023 and the options therefore were to either upgrade the sim cards at a cost of £700 per machine (total cost of £91,700) or proceed with the removal of all pay and display machines across the borough.

How many locations were cashless only in Bromley prior to the removal of all pay and display machines?

There were approximately 30 locations around the borough that were already cashless only zones prior to removal of all pay and display machines in April 2023.

What if there is no phone signal?

The current cashless system provided by RingGo has been operational throughout Bromley since 2010 and there have been very few reports of a poor signal. Cashless sessions are purchased regularly, if not daily, in all parking locations.

If a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is issued and a challenge made on the grounds that there was a poor signal, we will investigate, and our decision will be based on the information available to us.

Do I need a smart phone to use RingGo?

You do not need a smart phone to arrange a RingGo parking session, you can call RingGo with any type of phone as outlined below under ‘How do I use RingGo to pay for parking?’.

How do I use RingGo to pay for parking?

A cashless parking session can be purchased in one of the following ways:

  • via the RingGo app on a smartphone,
  • by phoning RingGo directly (020 3046 0010) with any type of phone,
  • Using the Text to Park service*, or
  • via in-car devices (smartphone only).

*There are a range of options available through the Text to Park service, including, arranging a parking session, amending a vehicle registration, extending a parking session and requesting help. You will need to be registered with RingGo to use the Text to Park service, but once registered, the service is quick and easy to use. For example, if you wanted to park your preferred vehicle in Fairfield Road car park for one hour, you would send a text to 81025. In the message field, simply add ‘RingGo 26205 1h 111’. 26205 represents the RingGo location code, 1h represents 1 hour and the three digit number is the security (CVV) number on the back of your payment card (we’ve used 111 as an example). Further information is available at: https://www.myringgo.co.uk/texttopark.

Parking sessions can also be booked remotely from a pc, laptop or any other listed device; however, we cannot guarantee parking availability at a specific location. Several vehicles can be added to a RingGo account which means that any motorist who is uncomfortable with using the cashless system can ask a friend or relative to book a parking session on their behalf.

Why didn’t the council invest in new pay and display machines?

There are several reasons why it was not feasible to invest in new pay and display machines.

  • the pay and display machines in some locations were over 25 years old. The approximate cost to replace these machines with upgraded models would have been £800,000.
  • pay and display machine usage decreased, whereas the demand for the cashless service steadily increased, especially in the last few years since the COVID pandemic.
  • unfortunately, there was a significant level of theft and vandalism associated with pay and display machines across the borough. Returning these machines to working order was proving to be very costly and was causing significant inconvenience to customers who expect to find the machine working when they park.
  • even if pay and display machines had been replaced with up-to-date models, these would also have been prone to theft and vandalism with the council having to meet the costs. Cashless parking costs are far less expensive and, of course, the risk of theft or vandalism is eliminated, which in turn, results in a more reliable and improved level of service for customers.

Can the council provide free parking?

Parking income helps to control parking in prime locations and to meet the costs of various transport initiatives including concessionary travel for older people. If parking was free, the net loss of income would reduce the finances available for travel initiatives. We’ve used council tax as an example to illustrate the impact of providing free parking which would increase by 3.5 per cent per household to compensate for the net loss of parking income.

How will drivers learn to use the cashless system?

A boroughwide campaign was organised to help motorists move over to the cashless system, including:

  1. Posters/signage at each pay to park location announcing the changes, including step-by-step guidance on how to use the RingGo service.
  2. Leaflets made available at suitable locations around the borough.
  3. Information in the Spring edition of Environment Matters.
  4. Advertisements in the borough’s JC Decaux electronic panels.
  5. An insert with the council tax letters distributed to all residents.

How will you help the digitally disadvantaged?

It is a common misconception that a parking session can only be booked through the RingGo app using a smartphone. As explained above, there are various ways to book a parking session, most of which use simple technology.

What if I don’t have a bank account?

Statistics show that less than 1 per cent of the general public do not have a bank account. Motorists are required to pay for their car tax and insurance by way of a bank account and it is therefore expected that all motorists have a bank account.

I’m a Blue Badge holder, what has changed for me?

Nothing has changed. Parking for Blue Badge holders continues to be free and unlimited in all council operated pay to park facilities, provided that the Blue Badge is clearly and correctly displayed, and the rules of the Blue Badge scheme are followed.  You can find out more about the Blue Badge rules at: Know the rules

Can I call the RingGo parking service from a landline?

You can call the RingGo to pay for parking from a landline or mobile phone.

If you call RingGo parking from a landline, the automated telephone system will ask you to enter your mobile number. At this point you need to enter your registered mobile number and PIN/password to confirm your account and fast-track the process. If you do not know your PIN/password, you can request an email reminder using RingGo’s online PIN/password recovery tool at myringgo.co.uk/resetpassword.

If you do not own a mobile device, you can enter the landline number you are calling from (if it has not already been recognised). The system will then continue as normal asking for your details such as vehicle registration, location code and payment card information, in order to park. Landline numbers can also be registered online at myringgo.co.uk/register or on the free RingGo smartphone apps.

Can I pay for less than an hour?

Tariff structures have not changed, and you can therefore still pay by the minute in locations where this tariff structure was available before the move to RingGo only.

Why did I pay more than the hourly rate shown on the tariff board?

A mandatory convenience charge of 20 pence per initial parking session is payable in addition to the parking tariff, but this does not apply to extending a parking session.

Call charges are at the standard rate agreed with your mobile phone service provider.  Confirmation and reminder SMS messages are optional and a 10p charge applies to each of these. You can opt in or out through the parking notifications tab in your RingGo account.

Can I use a telephone number from outside of the UK to book parking?

You can register for a RingGo account using a telephone number from outside of the UK, but you will need to add the country’s dialling code at the start of the number (e.g., an American number would start with +1).  A verification code will then be sent to you as a text message.

Please note:  if you are using a foreign device, you will not be able to download the RingGo app, as it is not supported by international app stores. You can still use RingGo's mobile website (myRingGo.co.uk) or the automated telephone line on 0203 046 0010 to book parking.

The automated service did not recognise the location code

This may be due to an issue with interpretation. We suggest trying again, as you may receive a Penalty Charge Notice if you use a pay to park facility without making payment.  You should ensure your parking session has been arranged correctly and your payment is successful before leaving your vehicle, as you cannot pay after the event.