Saturday, 22 February 2020

Second ticket meter at meadows car park to prevent queues

Second ticket meter at meadows car park to prevent queues

ANOTHER ticket machine is to be installed at the Mill Meadows car park in Henley.

The town council, who is responsible for the 80-bay car park, is responding to complaints by visitors frustrated by the queues that build up at the existing meter when the area is busy in the summer.

The second machine, which is solar-powered, is a reconditioned model that will cost £3,575 to install as opposed to a new one, which would cost £5,125.

A meeting of the council’s recreation and amenities committee heard that the existing meter has a digital screen that sometimes confused people who couldn’t read the panel.

Delays were also caused by visitors unable to remember their registration number or because they struggled to pay using a mobile phone.

Becky Walker, committee administrator, said: “Long queues cause frustration for visitors and are the main source of complaints to parks staff and visitor information staff.

“There is a mobile app that people can use for payment instead of the machines and most people now use cards for payment rather than cash, which speeds up the payment process. However, long queues remain an issue at Mill Meadows in good weather, particularly by the pavilion as the meter here is used most as it is closest to the entrance.”

Parks manager Karl Bishop said the current machine was “not the most user friendly”.

He said: “Throughout the year, it gets busy at Mill Meadows and at times there is a big queue of people waiting to use it. Hopefully, this will cut down the queues.”

Councillor Laurence Plant said: “It is the same problem that we have in the Greys Road car park. People don’t follow the instructions on the screen and then someone else at the back of the queue will help them.”

But Deputy Mayor David Eggleton said the extra machine would be a waste of money and he would prefer a trial first. He said there had been rarely any queues before the old machines were replaced. “These new meters have created the problem,” he said. “You are spending more money to have another meter because we created a problem in the first place.

“Is there any way of changing the machines to make them more user friendly and seeing if it works before we spend this money?”

Councillor Sarah Miller, who chairs the committee, said: “There always seems to be a queue there and occasionally it will be because people can’t operate the machine, or it is a busy day and a lot of people are there.

“It is probably a good idea that we have another machine. These days people are in a rush. I have been known to forget my registration number and if you have a big queue behind you then you can panic. All car parks now require registration numbers and it is the way forward.”

The reconditioned meter has a three-month warranty. Flowbird supplies and operates the council’s meters.

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