Folkestone & Hythe residents and visitors will soon have a greater choice when it comes to paying for parking. 

The option to use contactless payment is to be added to 35 of Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s 60 pay and display machines – all of which will still be able to accept cash. 

The remaining 25 machines are older and cannot be upgraded, although five will be replaced. Motorists will also be able to continue using the RingGo service to pay for their parking. 

Currently, coin transactions make up 40% of car park payments, while RingGo is 60%. 

The minimum value for card payment is to be set at £1.40 in order to reduce card payment fees. Customers wishing to pay amounts below £1.40 will need to pay cash or use RingGo.

Cabinet members agreed to the £27,000 upgrade of the 35 machines to accept contactless payment and £20,000 on replacing the five machines. They also agreed to spend £41,000 on installing an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system at the Sandgate Road car park in Folkestone. 

This will be trialled for a year, with the potential to roll out ANPR to other car parks, or replace the remaining 20 machines with new ones that will accept card payments. Cash payment options will be reviewed at the same time. 

Disabled badge holders will continue to have three hours free parking in all car parks. Blue Badge holders wishing to continue using Sandgate Road car park will be asked to register. All pay and display machines will be disability compliant.

Cllr Ray Field, Cabinet Member for Transport and Digital Transformation, said: “Alternative payment options such as contactless card payment machines and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) will improve the efficiency of parking facilities and will be well received by customers. I also believe some customers will be happy to know that they can still pay using coins.

“Adding these additional payment facilities is likely to improve usage and make significant operational savings.”

Work is expected to start in the next few months on the machines. Visit folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/parking for more information about car parks in our district, including how to get a resident or visitor parking permit. 

By Ed

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