At last night's Business Management Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting there was a lengthy debate about the cashless parking system. The council has introduced a system where you can buy a parking ticket at shops that have the PayPoint service. Having watched the committee (thanks to the exceptionally community minded Barnet Bugle)it is clear that this is a sop and will be phased out as soon as possible. Indeed Cllr Coleman said the council would not promote the PayPoint service as they want people to use payment by phone only. The committee also confirmed that you will only get 3 minutes to buy your ticket at a PayPoint outlet before you risk getting a penalty notice.
Now some may say I am a cynic, but my guess is that Barnet will keep as quiet as possible about this PayPoint option and when no one uses it they will say they are vindicated in phasing it out. Having stood on a busy road with credit card in one hand, phone in the other, trying to listen to the instructions I can tell you it is not as simple as Cllr Coleman suggests. Also there are a great many people in Barnet who have English as a second language and who may find it much easier to pay at a shop.
Barnet Council talks a lot about improving choice so why didn't they consider prepaid scratch cards for parking which they use in Westminster. Westminster states on its website,
" While Pay by Phone parking offers customers a range of benefits, Westminster City Council is aware that there are motorists who are unable (because they don't have a debit/credit card and/or a mobile phone) to use the service and others who may feel more comfortable using an alternative payment method".
I guess the answer is because Barnet just doesn't care!