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Parking payment plan for Brighton & Hove sees big drop in coin-based units

Deniz Huseyin
24 June 2016
The authority plans to procure 320 new pay & display units and update 330 existing terminals
The authority plans to procure 320 new pay & display units and update 330 existing terminals


Brighton & Hove City Council is planning to invest £1.8m upgrading its on-street parking terminals so that over 80% are pay-by-card only. This would see the number of machines that take coins dropping from the current 800 to just 150. The authority plans to procure 320 new pay & display units and update 330 existing P&D units, which would accept Chip & PIN and contactless card payment only. Another 150 machines would accept both cards and the new 12-sided £1 coin, which is being introduced in March 2017.

Under the proposals 650 of the current stock of 800 coin-based machines would be scrapped.   

The current stock comprises Parkeon Strada and Stelio machines. “Over 400 of the machines need replacing anyway as some are seven years past their normal life and showing signs of rust as sea air takes its toll,” said the council.

In order to ensure consistency of service access all parking payment terminals, the council intends to install Parkeon machines. The council's current phone payment provider is PayByPhone. Its three-year contract with the council ends this year, but there is the option of a two-year extension.

Going for the mainly non-cash option would cost £1.8m, the council estimates. This compares with the £2.5m it would cost to replace all existing machines to accept cards and coins and capture vehicle registrations. “It would take over 12 years to recoup this cost through savings, by which time the machines would be obsolete.”

The report to council says reducing the number of coin-based machines offers the best “value for money” because it balances the immediate needs of responding to the coin change with providing a physical on-street payment option. “It will remove the risks and costs associated with providing hundreds of cash holding machines across the city, reducing thefts. The card processing costs would be paid by the council, not the driver.”

By contrast, it would take seven years to pay back the capital on the preferred, mainly coin-free option, said the council.

The council said that £150,000 has been stolen from parking machines in Brighton & Hove since 2008. “Between January and March this year, there were 51 incidents of theft of attempted theft, netting thieves almost £15,000 and causing £30,000 of damage.”

Coin-based P&D units would be “clearly branded as accepting cash and strategically placed where most likely to be needed”, said the council. Drivers would still be able to pay for parking in cash at 150 PayPoint outlets by quoting the location code where they parked, the authority added.

More than 40% of drivers now pay for their on-street parking by phone, according to the council. “The steady increase in customers choosing to pay for parking by phone has helped reduce wear and tear on the machines as they take much less cash,” said the council. “There is, however, still demand for conveniently located pay & display machines and this is expected to continue for the seven to 10 years lifespan of the average machine.”

The annual cost of maintaining parking machines each year is about £500,000, with the upkeep of cash machines higher than it is for card machines, said the council.

A decision on the payment machines plan has been deferred by the environment committee to the policy, rescources and growth committee, which will reach a final decision on 14 July.

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