Everyone at RingGo cashless parking was very surprised by the AA’s recent research on the popularity (or lack of it) of pay-by-phone parking, as it certainly doesn’t resonate with what our clients tell us or what our customers are actually doing.
The following points are relevant to this discussion:
- Although the AA talks about people having to ‘drive on to find a cash alternative’, RingGo phone parking is offered in 400 towns and cities across the UK. In 99% of locations (a couple of areas of Central London being exceptions), our service is provided alongside pay and display machines as an optional alternative to cash payments.
- Over 10.5 million UK motorists are registered with RingGo, and more than 100,000 new users sign up every month. So drivers don’t appear to be ‘shunning’ the service.
- Over 60% of British councils already offer cashless parking – and many who don’t are in more remote areas (e.g. Orkney) where parking is still blissfully free!
The AA survey states that over half of drivers don’t mind how they pay as long as it’s easy. We agree and, once registered, RingGo usually takes seconds to initiate.
It’s certainly unfortunate that some parking machines do not yet accept the new £1 coin – this is an issue for the machine manufacturers and local authorities to resolve as soon as possible. At least RingGo offers another payment method in such circumstances.
It is true that in many places there is an additional charge for using pay-by-phone in comparison with coins. However some operators, like South West Trains, decide not to charge any extra as they are saving the significant costs of collecting, processing and banking cash.
One of the great benefits of cashless parking is time management. By being able to extend parking from anywhere, motorists can initially pay for the minimum time they might need and top up later from a restaurant or meeting, for example, rather than running back to the meter with more coins.
Two thirds of the survey’s respondents complain that it’s a challenge to have the right change. So may I playfully suggest we all embrace the modern world and give phone payment a go.
Luc Warner is UK marketing director at the Parkmobile Group, operator of RingGo.