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Pay-and-display meters 'will be phased out by 2025' as councils go cashless

By Tom Gibson | May 30, 2023


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One industry insider has said he ‘can’t see’ local authorities buying traditional metres in the near future

Pay-and-display meters 'will be phased out by 2025' as councils go cashless

Traditional pay-and-display machines will likely only be found in museums within a decade, according to one industry insider.

Anthony Eskinazi, chief executive of JustPark, has said he 'can't see' any local authorities buying traditional meters 'past 2025'.

With procurement contracts typically lasting up to eight years, this means it will likely be very difficult to find a traditional metre by the end of the decade with them likely to be extinct by 2033.

The move is partly being driven by a 2033 deadline for telecoms firms to switch off their 3G networks – with Vodafone set to start phasing out 3G from June.

Upgrading meters so they can run on 4G or 5G networks could cost local authorities across the country millions of pounds, on top of fees for firms which process card payments.

However, a survey previously conducted by Consumer Intelligence found more than half of over-65s do not feel like using often confusing and slow parking apps.

And it isn’t just over 65s that often don’t like using them. We regularly hear from motorists who say there are so many apps and websites, each with a massively complicated and long-winded process, that it can be a huge put-off if they do not accept cash.

In an interview with the Mail, Mr Eskinazi, 40, said: 'I would be surprised – if, after the next cycle of procurements, there are any more pay and display machines... I can't see anyone re-procuring more machines past 2025.

'You may still have more machines up to 2030 and 2032 because the contracts are still active, but re-procuring this machinery, I highly doubt it – just because the cost of and also the percentage usage, it would be very hard to justify the business case of doing so.'

'So many restaurants and newsagents and other stores are going cashless, they are just saying credit or debit card now. Life progresses, technology moves on and we have to adapt to it and we have to bring as many people with us as possible and make sure there are alternative solutions for those left behind.'

Former pensions minister Baroness Ros Altmann said alternative provisions must be made for those who rely on meters before they are axed.

'We are rushing headlong into so-called progress or improvement while excluding so many people almost as if they don't matter – and they do matter.’

A Local Government Association spokesman said: 'The removal of the 3g network is posing considerable challenges to councils who operate physical parking meters. This change, along with other customer trends, has led to councils digitising parts of their parking services.

'This includes moving to cashless payments and removing parking meters when other more efficient and secure ways can be taken to make payments.'

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