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Argyll and Bute Council has introduced a new system where drivers in Oban can pay for parking via their mobile phones, rather than just coins, after complaints by businesses.
Andrew Spence, chief executive of business group BID4Oban, said he had been ‘inundated with complaints’ about Argyll and Bute Council’s new parking charges in Oban.
All the meters only accept coins, he said, adding: ‘In this day and age, there should be a facility to pay via credit/debit card or mobile phone.’
The council announced on Monday it had launched a ‘new quick, simple way to pay for parking, wherever you are’ across the region.
A spokesperson explained: ‘PaySmarti is a fully digital, modern way to pay for parking through a simple phone call, using a debit or credit card, and giving your car registration and location. Each purchase of parking time is automatically updated on the warden’s handheld computer leading to reduced errors, fewer appeals and lower costs.
‘You don’t need to register to use PaySmarti, but if you become a regular user, it will speed things up as pre-registered customers can simply text to park. In addition, you can receive a reminder text 15 minutes before your parking session expires. You will also be able to download VAT receipts.
‘Participating car parks, and Oban metered on-street parking, will display PaySmarti signage on the existing ticket machine. The location code for the car park will be displayed on the poster at the ticket machine.
‘To pay, simply call 01604 210 933 (from your mobile phone), go online to www.PaySmarti.co.uk or send a text to 07537 404780. The service will not be available in car parks which offer a free parking period.’
Councillor Roddy McCuish, policy lead for roads and amenity services, said: ‘Year on year cuts to our funding, like all councils, mean that we must make changes to how we work. This system provides our customers with choice and the convenience of not having to find the right change to park. Choice is increased by the availability of season tickets that can be used in car parks throughout Argyll and Bute.
‘From the council’s point of view, this will cut down on some of the expense associated with appeals, ticket transfer and vandalism, enabling us direct our limited resources to vital services.’