back to article Westminster readies 'wave and pay' parking meters

Westminster City Council is to trial "wave and pay" parking meters. Drivers with contactless debit or credit cards will be able to wave them at the relevant meter from the New Year. The technology - being used for the first time in the UK - will be trialled on 20 meters in the West End, but could be extended if it is successful …

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Bronze badge

Fraud with attitude...

" because of increasing fraud. The council was losing over £100,000 a week because the machines were targeted by Cool Hand Luke-style thieves. The gangs used power saws and angle grinders to cut them in half "

Now that's a rather interesting definition of fraud. "The bank was defrauded by a gang with shotguns", or "my house was drefauded by breaking a window" perhaps.

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Alert

Grasping B'tards

Westminster are the only council in London (world?) to charge for the use of motorcycle bays and have had the most complaints for the preditory tactics of their wardens. The crooks knocking off their meters have been hailed as liberators in some quarters. Wouldn't trust them with my credit card details as far as I could throw one of their fattest wardens.

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Paris Hilton

Oyster....

Ummmm why dont that get them to support he Oyster contactless card?

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WTF?

"There are over four million contactless cards in circulation in the UK.?"

4 million cash/credit cards ? - using contactless technology - where - who - what ?

Confused - strikes me as an electronic hole in the pocket - given how secure it isn't

What is going on ?

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Big Brother

Why not integrate it With Oyster?

Politics aside (which probably means it will never happen) most londoners have an Oyster card already, whereas few have contactless debit cards. Why not use Oyster cards as a payment method? It's already setup, working and a well established top up system in place.

Plus they have a established system to know where you've been all the time.

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Well this isn't ripe for abuse...

Do these things have a constant GSM connection back to head office? Do they charge the cards immediatly and then delete all the info?

Seems ripe for abuse imo.

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Big Brother

Oyster

why can't I use me oyster?

is it because you can get an oyster anonymously and they want to track everyone - which is the reason they made everyone pre-register to use the mobile payment system they have now?

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Bronze badge

A bit of a waste

I still can't see the point of parking meters. They don't limit the parking as the spaces are always full so it just seems to be a rather inefficient tax.

I'm also a little skeptical about gangs of thieves roaming London with angle grinders cutting open parking meters! Firstly there's the problem of electricity, secondly the "exposed" nature of the crime and thirdly CCTV. If people are getting booked for jumping out their car for thirty seconds because they've been caught on CCTV I would have thought jumping out your car with an angle grinder and then cutting open a parking meter may attract somewhat more attention.

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Thumb Down

worst idea ever

this idea of contactless debit/credit cards is the worst idea ever, because even though there may be a limit to how much can be taken from your account without your interaction. the point that any money at all can be taken from your account without your interaction is an open invitation to thieves.

consider that fraudsters are often technically savvy and it won't take long before they have similar contactless card readers themselves. all they would need to do is walk around and every person with a contactless card that they walk past will unknowingly pay them £10 (for example).

gah. why do i feel like i'm wasting my time here stating the bloody obvious. sheesh. you figure this one out, it aint rocket science. i for one will NEVER carry around such a card. it's a dumb idea.

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Grenade

Meters

Are parking meters in London diffrent to the rest of the country? as if i want to park for half an hour i pay for half an hour? how will these know how long you stayed for? oh wait they'll just charge you for the whole day even if your only there 10 minutes, genius. or do you simply wave your card when you come back?

and instead of being defrauded by angel grinders??? the fraud wil just be passed onto the credit/debt card people, then onto the consumer, simples.

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Troll

why not bill by cctv anyway?

You just go and park there. Done.

As they are taking thousands of pictures with the cctv networks anyway and you can be fined being caught on one of these pix, why can't they just assume that you wanted to pay if you park and send you a bill for the time?

Would be a clever use for all these cameras, I think.

But then, 'clever' doesn't feature very high on the usual council's list...

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Silver badge
Grenade

Try something radical

I have a rather radical suggestion.

Why not just allow free parking?

Considering how much parking revenue gets swallowed up by administrative costs, I think a system with no administrative costs whatsoever might even turn out to be a net saving.

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Silver badge

What?

On what planet to Westminster council live? Never mind the whole motorcycle parking issue (luckily I live in an enlightened area that, by and large, offers decent parking for all types of bikes powered or not)* but do they think I am going to pass my card details on to some random device?

Sod that.

And how do they authenticate? Do I get a receipt? How do i say how long I want to be there? How does it know which vehicle?

*I was in one area dahn-saff that did charge bikes...but they only had car spaces. So you squeezed five bikes into one car bay, buy one ticket, job done. And the council were nice enough to advise you to do that (ticket contained partial reg num, so they were useless to anyone who lifted them off the bike). It's annoying to have to pay (we all like free) but it was also nice that the council had THOUGHT about ti an applied some logic.

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Stop

free parking and oyster

Free parking wont work, people will leave their cars there for months! ...then again what a great idea! It will mean less parking spaces and eventually less cars on the road since there will be nowhere to park! OMG I'm gonna pitch it as a congestion reduction system. :D

As for Oyster! It's a closed TfL system, When we got our cards the deal was TfL and train companies would have the data and the DPA protects that. I don't want Westminster Council having access to *any* of my details.

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Bronze badge

Fraud?

"The council was losing over £100,000 a week because the machines were targeted by Cool Hand Luke-style thieves. The gangs used power saws and angle grinders to cut them in half and helped themselves to the coins inside."

That's not fraud - it's plain theft.

It's also quite funny...

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WTF?

Errr...

OK with pay wave stuff, normally these terminals are just at check outs, if every parking meter now has one do you have to be careful where you cross the street now if you have one of these cards? walk too close to a parking meter and poof goes your money to the council??

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Flame

Parking is a joke...

The current methods of enforcing parking are a complete joke...

Where they make you pay in advance is always a scam, you don't always know how long you're likely to be there so you end up paying more than you need or getting fined if you are unexpectedly delayed. Coming back to the car to top up the ticket wastes your time, and unless you time it perfectly you pay twice for the overlap time.

Parking wardens are not there to enforce the rules, they are there to make money and they have quotas of tickets to fill. If they see you about to park, they won't jump out and tell you not to park there, they will wait until you leave the car and then ticket you. It is in their interest for people to break the rules and get fined, because if noone broke the rules the wardens would get fired for doing their supposed job too effectively.

Also, parking tickets have become a cost of doing business for countless delivery companies... There are thousands of businesses that require deliveries of various goods, and yet there is nowhere nearby for the delivery vehicle to park.

Just a few days ago i saw a pub that has stood for hundreds of years having large barrels and crates delivered... The truck parked right outside and got a ticket almost immediately - like the warden knows when the pub is scheduled to get a delivery and waits for it. There is nowhere else for the driver to park, there is a public car park nearby but it has a height restriction on the entrance and would require transporting the heavy deliveries across the road - likely to cause more obstruction than the truck.

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Bronze badge

Free parking?

I lived in the West End for about 4 years and I can tell you that's a rubbish idea. Getting a park was hard enough on a motorbike, let alone a car. Yes, the Westminster parking attendents are ruthless, but it's an easy way for a council to make money from numpties and I'd rather see that than my council tax go up.

The £1 a day charge for motorcycle parking is a brilliant idea in my opinion, it's got rid of all the crappy old scooters that were parked there for months but never used. Long gone are the days when I had to stand on my seat and walk over 3 bikes to the edge of the bay...

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Anonymous Coward

@ Grasping B'tards

A few years ago, my wife arrived back at the car in time, put the baby in the back and was about to drive away when the baby threw up. She is busy in the back to clean it up, then turns around .. to find a parking ticket on the window.

I can tell you as a normal, calm, law abiding citizen who even keeps himself mostly to speed limits I am *extremely* glad I wasn't there because the relevant parking attendant would not have survived. I still get angry thinking about it.

In the UK I'd support angle grinder man - clamping is another one of those blackmail efforts.

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Bronze badge

Two into one won't go

A little word of warning here - if you have more than one contactless card in your wallet, none of them will work.

My Oyster card (which I do use) won't work alongside my Connect card (which I don't use - in that fashion). I didn't have any choice in what kind of Connect card I got.

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@Joe Montana

"Where they make you pay in advance is always a scam, you don't always know how long you're likely to be there so you end up paying more than you need or getting fined if you are unexpectedly delayed. Coming back to the car to top up the ticket wastes your time, and unless you time it perfectly you pay twice for the overlap time."

Which is one of the benefits of the current pay by phone Westminster scheme - so long as you've got network coverage, you can top up the meter wherever you are with a quick SMS. And post-payment of parking charges isn't much less of a scam, what with your parking period being rounded up to the next multiple (15/30/60 minutes etc.) before payment is calculated. Park for 60 minutes and pay for 60 minutes. Park for 61 minutes and pay for 120...

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Pirate

@ Matt21

Automatic numberplate recognition is all over London. Automatic man-carrying-an-anglegrinder recognition is still a bit of a way off.

I think the anglegrinder gangs would have been more welcomed as liberators if they'd cut down Congestion Charge and Bus Lane cameras - but there'd be no money in that unless they were working for street furniture manufacturers (who already have more work than they can cope with from TfL's and the borough's war on roadspace), Chopping down a parking meter is scarcely a liberation since then the parking space becomes the equivalent of one more double yellow until it is replaced.

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Anonymous Coward

Jobsworths

I'll just chip in with my experience of parking wardens. We had just resurfaced a stretch of road in North London and parked the tarmac paver on the previous days resurfaced road. Came back the next day to find a warden had climbed up on to the black, oily, greasy diesel stinking machine to slap a ticket on it. Now, if we don't create the road in the first place, just what are they going to be enforcing? Muppets.

I'd also second the idea of NOT paying. I suspect the self levelling effect would be that you get to park just fine.

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Silver badge

Lovely! New technology ... new opportunities for fraud

Check the classified, soon they wll be advertising hacker parking cards and Westminsters income will drop still further.

Ever heard of coin of the realm?

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