Merton Council approves decision to modernise parking infrastructure

Merton Council has approved a decision to modernise its parking infrastructure, including the installation of 78 new payment terminals to replace the most frequently used pay and display machines. The new terminals will have bigger screens, and allow for contactless payment.

The programme, agreed at a meeting of Cabinet on 12 July, will also see the council remove around 350 under-used pay and display parking machines. The changes are due to come into effect in October 2021, although some machines will be taken out of use over the summer.

Motorists will instead be able to pay using the RingGo system – already used for around 76% of parking payments in Merton – which allows them to complete their transaction by phone, text message, or through an app. Anyone who is unable to make a payment via RingGo will still be able to make cash payments at any local retail outlets that offer the PayPoint service.

New updated pay and display machines will be installed in the 78 locations across the borough where they are used the most.

The decision to move to a predominantly digital system comes as the usage of pay and display machines declines. In total, 268 machines across the borough take less than £2,000 cash in a year, and 171 take less than £1,000. This equates to less than £5 per day from the machines that take up to £2,000 and £2.80 per day from machines taking less than £1,000.

Meanwhile, the uptake in online payments has moved from 43% in 2018/19 to 76% in 2021, and the council anticipates further take up of approximately 20% over the coming years.

Full information on the project, and instructions on how to pay for parking via RingGo can be found at: merton.gov.uk/ParkingMachineUpgrade

Councillor Martin Whelton, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Climate Emergency, said: “Like many other London boroughs, we are increasingly moving towards digital payment for parking by switching to a mostly cashless system for payments. In the past three years online payments have gone from 43% to 76% with usage dropping across the borough with 171 machines taking less than £5 per day.

“With over 95% of the UK population owning a mobile phone, and 96% owning a bank card, we are confident that this move will be convenient to the vast majority of our local motorists. However, accessibility is absolutely key to everything we do, and so we’ve been sure to work out an alternative for those who may not be able to use RingGo but also consulted with equality groups with mechanism in place for those who wish to pay by cash.”