DRIVERS will no longer have to carry around loose change because Harrow’s municipal car parks now have a ‘quick and easy’ pay-by-phone service.

Since the start of April motorists have been able to use their mobile telephone and debit or credit card to settle the fee for their parking space, although they can still insert cash if they wish and the tariff is the same no matter which method is used.

Harrow Council’s portfolio holder for environment and community safety, councillor Phil O’Dell, said: “Cashless parking is quick and easy and will make motorists’ lives a lot easier. The new payment system will make the town and district centres an even more attractive option for shoppers which will increase visitor numbers.”

Motorists find a space and then dial a specialist number run by private contractor RingGo to register, the details of which are on the side of the pay-and-display machine.

They tap in a four digit location code and their card number using the keypad and there is no speaking involved. It takes three minutes and costs the same as a typical local call from a mobile telephone.

Drivers later receive a courtesy text message to remind them when their time is running out and may extend their stay then and there.

Jeff Jackson, manager of St Ann’s Shopping Centre in St Ann’s Road, Harrow, said: “By bringing new technology to our town centre car parks Harrow Council has ensured the town centre is that bit more accessible for shoppers which can only be a good thing for business.”

Cashless parking will be available at on-street parking from the autumn.

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