UK councils blasted for ‘discriminatory’ parking rules in blow to elderly

Councils have been blasted for “discriminatory” parking rules as many areas ditch cash parking meters for online payments.

Instead of physical change, drivers are being encouraged to pay using apps such as RingGo and Just Park.

However, the changes are expected to disproportionately impact on the elderly with many older drivers still not using smartphones.

According to Careline, only 65 percent of people over the age of 65 own a smartphone while 55 percent of those over 75 use the internet.

GEM Motoring Assist has made a passionate plea to not ditch machines after a string of letters from concerned motorists.

READ MORE Elderly drivers set to be ‘penalised’ by new ‘discriminatory’ parking rule

Neil Worth, chief executive at GEM Motoring Assist said it was crucial decision makers didn’t “alienate” motorists.

He explained: “Not everyone has a smartphone, so it is simply not right that parking in our town centres and high streets should be available only to those who do have one.

“It seems a clear case of discrimination against those who cannot – or would rather not – switch to app-based payments.

“Our town centre retailers need all the support they can get in these difficult economic times. We understand the need for councils to save money, but they must be careful not to alienate anyone for whom smartphone payments are not possible.

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“We urge local authorities to ensure there will always be the option to pay by cash. This helps both shoppers and retailers.”

Half of all London councils have already removed some of their pay-and-display machines.

The issues are not just contained in London with Brighton and Hove city council scrapping all of its machines by the end of May.

It is understood the reduction in machines is down to the 3G networks getting switched off across the country.

Many local authorities are reluctant to spend money on installing up-to-date card payment technology which could cost thousands of pounds.

Earlier this year, Age UK called out the rise of cashless parking payments across UK towns and cities.

The charity warned cash was the “go-to -payment method” for many older motorists and should not be replaced.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK commented: “More and more services are declining cash and threatening to disenfranchise millions of older people as a result.

“We urge every public-facing body to continue to cater for people who use cash, so they are not excluded.”

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