Council bosses in South Tyneside are to continue providing drivers with an option to pay for parking by phone – despite a poll suggesting most motorists are not in favour of the payment system.
A study published by the AA has found that 70% of drivers would keep searching for a space to park rather than use one where paying by mobile is mandatory.
In South Tyneside, it is not mandatory to pay for parking by phone, but the service is offered by a number of car parks in South Shields.
The AA poll of 16,500 drivers also found that 64% say it is often a challenge to find the right coins for parking, with many machines not giving change.
Coun Moira Smith, lead member for area management and community safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “It is not mandatory to pay for parking by mobile phone in South Tyneside.
“The pay by phone cashless system is simply another option which is offered to residents and visitors using the car parks in South Shields Town Centre and seafront areas.
For some people the system is quicker and more convenient, but we appreciate that many others prefer the more traditional method of putting change in the meterCoun Moira Smith
“For some people the system is quicker and more convenient, but we appreciate that many others prefer the more traditional method of putting change in the meter. New, more modern parking meters were introduced last year to replace outdated unreliable machines.
“These feature the latest technology and are more accepting of current and new tender, including the new £1 coin. Another option for drivers is to park for free, with more than 300 free parking spaces available across the town centre.”
While South Tyneside Council has updated its parking meters, the AA study found that one in five UK councils had not converted their parking ticket machines to accept the new £1 coin, which entered circulation in March.
The motoring organisation warned that drivers embarking on trips to popular tourist destinations from Devon to the Scottish Highlands risk being hit with hefty fines because of the out-of-date infrastructure.
AA head of roads policy Jack Cousens said: “Parking in town centres can be troublesome at the best of times.
“Not only can it be a struggle to find a space, but now when you do find one you may be required to talk to an automated system to pay the charge - not ideal if you have an appointment or just want to get in and get out quickly.
“More than half of drivers (52%) don’t care how they pay, as long as it is easy to do so.”