A NEW system of discounted parking for residents at local authority off-street car parks is a step closer after councillors opted for a system using smart cards.
The decision was taken by members of Scarborough Council’s Service Performance Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the matter will be referred to the cabinet next month.
And if approved the scheme – which has been dubbed “Park Smart” – could start as soon as June.
John Riby, the council’s head of technical services, said that some of the existing parking machines had reached the end of their working life and needed to be replaced with machines which could handle the new smart cards – the move coincides with the introduction of 57 new solar powered parking machines across the area.
Proposals for a trial scheme would see residents benefit from a 10 per cent discount at off-street car parks and the cards could be topped up at council offices before using it to pay for parking. Initial purchases on the card would attract a 20 per cent bonus, with a 10 percent bonus for every additional £10 purchase.
It is proposed that initially 2,000 cards would be made available on the trial and use and cost would be reviewed later in the year.
And, if the initial take-up of cards is significant, then approval will be sought to increase the number to 4,000.
Cllr Cecil Ridley said that there was a possibility that not all residents would want to take advantage of the offer.
Mr Riby said: “The residents will apply and come into Customer First to pick them up there. The card would be listed to that person.”
Cllr Guy Smith said that residents would find it difficult to park near to the Customer First to collect their cards and pointed out that a car park in Friars Way was underused. He said: “I go past most dinner times and there are very few cars in it.”
Mr Riby said it had been predicted that certain car parks would be used and the use of Friars Way was not as predicted. He added: “We thought it would be used more.”
Cllr Ann Preston asked: “How long is a card valid for from when you purchase it?”
Mr Riby said: “It will go on for as long as you want to keep it.”
Cllr Nick Harvey said that public transport should still be the preferred option for travel to and from the area. He said: “An integrated transport system doesn’t work when the different parts do not integrate.”
Mr Riby said: “We are always mindful of an integrated transport system. We await feedback from East Yorkshire Motor Services. My feeling is that this will not in itself cause any modal shift. Residents have said they want some benefit of being residents.”
Under the new scheme the council faces a one of cost of £2,450 for the card recharging unit, and up to £9,300 for 6,000 cards – the discount scheme would only be available at car parks where the new machines were installed.