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Councils turn to parking app for savings

Westminster Council is trialling a new parking app that could make it easier for the authority to charge for parking spaces, while facilitating payments for motorists. Other benefits the app claims to bring include reduced congestion and lower pollution, although previous flaws with parking apps remain a concern for council bosses.

New initiative

Westminster Council’s trial of the AppyParking app is part of a Department for Transport (DfT) project that will also involve other city councils in a nationwide plan to improve parking in city centres. By reducing the time taken to park, the DfT hopes to reduce pollution and congestion caused by drivers circling areas as they seek free spaces.

AppyParking works by providing real time parking data via its website and app. This helps motorists quickly find available parking and compare costs. Once parked, sensors monitor how long they’re parked – to the minute – and calculate final costs, which can be paid online in single click.

Benefits for councils

While some authorities may worry about lost income from parking enforcement charges, the data supplied by the app will simplify the process of pricing parking effectively, and smart sensors will ensure that motorists pay a fair price for their entire stay.

Meanwhile, collecting and chasing payments could become quicker and simpler.  On exit from the parking bay, a receipt is simply sent directly to the user’s email account that accounts for the time spent in the bay.  Some commentators have also noted the potential to cut traffic wardens out of the equation entirely, a move they say would save councils up to £5 million per year.

Perfecting systems

There have, however, been recent issues with parking apps that councils must consider. For example, the RingGo app, used by councils including Richmond, Milton Keynes and Lewisham, was recently criticised after an error caused motorists’ names, phone numbers and registration numbers to be revealed to other app users.

If authorities are to truly benefit from the tech advances, they will need to ensure that all technical and privacy concerns are addressed. Particularly as data will need to be sensitively shared as part of any new debt enforcement processes, which will need to be adapted to new online systems.

For more information about how Dukes Bailiffs can help claim unpaid debts, online and offline, contact our centre manager today.

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