Motorists attack phone parking system in Barking and Dagenham

Angry motorists have slammed a high-tech car parking system that requires them to use a mobile phone and bank card before a ticket can be bought.

The cashless system introduced in 10 public car-parks in Barking and Dagenham also adds mobile phone fees and a 20p service charge to the existing parking toll.

Barking and Dagenham Council said the scheme, RingGo, was a new “option” and has promised to leave pay and display machines in all its car-parks.

But there was mayhem at the Barking Town Hall car-park this week as all of the machines were out of use shortly after the system went live.

Driver Tracy Mackin said: “We are being asked to ring a number and pay by credit or debit card. We are also expected to pay for the phone call. This is just another way of taking our money.”

Paul Bennett said staff were forced to let motorists park their vehicle for free for the first two hours on May 29.

Mr Bennett, of Dagenham, said: “Everyone who came in was totally confused what to do.

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“Overnight they close the machines and you’ve got to phone up. This is not good enough.”

Another motorist, Kim Symmonds, said: “I was absolutely livid, I park in this car park every week at the same time, as I attend the Barking Learning Centre. Surely they have a responsibility to get the machines fixed.”

The Labour council said RingGo was “flexible” and “attractive” and stressed it allowed drivers to top up remotely without having to run back to car-parks.

Motorists incur a 20p “convenience charge” to use the service plus two optional 10p text messages, one which is a receipt and another a reminder that the ticket is about to expire.

A council spokesman said: “There will still be pay and display machines to use in each car park.”

Communities cabinet member, Cllr Jeanne Alexander, added: “As a council we’re always keen to make services more attractive and flexible, and offering people the ability to pay for their parking by mobile phone or app, is a great alternative to saving up coins.”