Pay-and-display machines could be all but extinct within a decade, a parking app boss has suggested.
Anthony Eskinazi (CORR), chief executive of JustPark, has said he ‘can’t see’ any local authorities buying traditional meters ‘past 2025’.
And with procurement contracts generally lasting up to eight years or less – it means motorists may struggle to find any parking meters beyond 2032.
It comes after the Daily Mail revealed how more than two million people could soon live in ‘parking meter deserts’ as local authorities increasingly scrap machines in favour of cashless alternatives such as mobile apps.
The move is partly being driven by a 2033 deadline for telecoms firms to switch off their 3G networks – with Vodafone set to start phasing out 3G from June.
In many UK car parks you will have the option to pay for your parking with an app. And in some it is now the only way to pay
Pay-and-display machines could be all but extinct within a decade, a parking app boss has suggested
Upgrading meters so they can run on 4G or 5G networks could cost local authorities across the country millions of pounds, on top of fees for firms which process card payments.
However, a survey previously conducted by Consumer Intelligence found more than half of over-65s do not feel like using apps such as JustPark, RingGo and PayByPhone.
Last month Michael Gove, the levelling-up secretary, wrote to councils urging them to keep cash options for parking.
But in an exclusive interview with the Mail, Mr Eskinazi, 40, said: ‘I would be surprised – if, after the next cycle of procurements, there are any more pay and display machines… I can’t see anyone re-procuring more machines past 2025.
‘You may still have more machines up to 2030 and 2032 because the contracts are still active, but re-procuring this machinery, I highly doubt it – just because the cost of and also the percentage usage, it would be very hard to justify the business case of doing so.’
When asked directly whether he thought a driver’s preference to use parking meters should be taken into account, Mr Eskinazi said ‘Honestly no’, adding: ‘So many restaurants and newsagents and other stores are going cashless, they are just saying credit or debit card now.
‘Life progresses, technology moves on and we have to adapt to it and we have to bring as many people with us as possible and make sure there are alternative solutions for those left behind.’
However, the Barnet-based businessman accepted there were still a small percentage of drivers who did not have a smartphone, adding: ‘I think understanding that and thinking maybe in the same way we give blue badges to people with a disability, is there something we can give to the most vulnerable?
‘Maybe you have to pay £50 a year and it means you don’t need to worry about parking on the streets… I’m not saying that is the solution but I think there are alternative ways to solve that problem.’
Street signage indicates that drivers can pay for their car parking with RingGo via the app
Parking apps used in the UK
In many UK car parks you will have the option to pay for your parking with an app. And in some it is now the only way to pay.
Many apps are commonly used by UK car park operators, such as councils and private parking firms.
- NCP ParkPass
Now boasting of 13million customers, Mr Eskinazi founded JustPark – previously named ParkatMyHouse – in 2006.
He was 23 at the time and was inspired to help drivers find free spaces after he struggled to secure a parking spot while attending a baseball game in San Francisco – and spotting an empty driveway he wished he could use.
The father-of-four taught himself to code and left his grad scheme job at accountancy firm Deloitte after just six weeks, in order to focus on the business.
Today, JustPark employs around 80 employees in its Camden headquarters and has contracts with 25 local authorities, in addition to its driveway rental and parking space finding services.
But former pensions minister Baroness Ros Altmann said alternative provisions must be made for those who rely on meters before they are axed.
‘We are rushing headlong into so-called progress or improvement while excluding so many people almost as if they don’t matter – and they do matter,’ she said.
A Local Government Association spokesman said: ‘The removal of the 3g network is posing considerable challenges to councils who operate physical parking meters.
He added: ‘This change, along with other customer trends, has led to councils digitising parts of their parking services.
‘This includes moving to cashless payments and removing parking meters when other more efficient and secure ways can be taken to make payments.’
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk