Figures show cost of new parking system in Barnet

Times Series: Cllr Dean Cohen with the meters Cllr Dean Cohen with the meters

Barnet Borough Council spent £81,000 removing popular pay and display cash machines in its car parks, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

The authority removed the parking meters in 2010 in favour of the new pay by phone system, which was introduced in 2008.

This meant motorists' only option was to pay using their bank card via their mobile phone.

But many complained the phone system is difficult to use, time consuming or they simply do not have a bank card or mobile to use it.

As a result, Barnet Council then spent £200,000 on installing the new pay by card machines in its car parks and streets.

The figures also show 39 pay and display card machines have since been installed in car parks in the borough.

Stephen Posen, of Bell Lane, Hendon, who logged the FoI request, said: "It’s a terrific waste of public money. An absolutely ludicrous situation.

"The cashless parking system is very inconvenient. I rarely use a mobile phone and I’ve been very put out by the removal of meters. I was very annoyed by it. I can’t be the only one.

"The cost has horrified me."

In November 2011, 451 pay and display cash machines were removed from the boroughs car parks and the first transactions for the new cashless system were made in January 2013.

The cost of each cashless system unit is £3,387, including the price of installation.

Each year, the pay and display cash machines cost the councils some £500,000 to empty and were regularly the target of vandalism.

Councillor Dean Cohen, cabinet member for environment, said the machines were "well part their sell by date".

He added: "The cost of removing cash meters back in 2011 paled in comparison to the amount they were costing to operate and maintain.

"This was one reason for moving towards a cashless policy and online transactions – an approach which has seen us install pay-by-card machines across the borough.

"These meters provide many of the benefits of cash meters, but do not incur the same costs."

Comments (2)

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12:49pm Thu 16 Jan 14

dawboy says...

If Barnet Council were a private company who's Directors (Councillors) wasted money and abused their customers (Barnet's population) in the way this council does, then they would have either gone bankrupt or lost most of their customers by now.
Barnet is a rich borough and its population provides huge sums of money to the council in rates. Because of the huge sums collected, the council can still muddle through despite their lack of real ability. In fact the borough could probably carry on reasonably well if there were no councillors at all.
The councill do their level best to bury as much of their cash inefficiency as they can from the public or issue weazle words of denial when found out, as in this case. Unfortunately many people in Barnet seem to honestly believe they have a good council just because their dust bins are collected, irrespective of how much Councillors charge in attendance and expense fees to 'supervise' this services.
The fact is, that Barnet Council is run like a medieval fiefdom with Councillors chosen to stand for office based on who their friends or relatives are. Look how many husbands and wives, fathers and sons etc there are on our council. Committees are headed up by Councillors from one party alone (unlike any other borough in the country) whilst it is recognized democratic custom elsewhere to share committees over all parties on a pro-rata basis. Those who head up committees get extra payment ! Suprise, suprise.
If Barnet Council were a private company who's Directors (Councillors) wasted money and abused their customers (Barnet's population) in the way this council does, then they would have either gone bankrupt or lost most of their customers by now. Barnet is a rich borough and its population provides huge sums of money to the council in rates. Because of the huge sums collected, the council can still muddle through despite their lack of real ability. In fact the borough could probably carry on reasonably well if there were no councillors at all. The councill do their level best to bury as much of their cash inefficiency as they can from the public or issue weazle words of denial when found out, as in this case. Unfortunately many people in Barnet seem to honestly believe they have a good council just because their dust bins are collected, irrespective of how much Councillors charge in attendance and expense fees to 'supervise' this services. The fact is, that Barnet Council is run like a medieval fiefdom with Councillors chosen to stand for office based on who their friends or relatives are. Look how many husbands and wives, fathers and sons etc there are on our council. Committees are headed up by Councillors from one party alone (unlike any other borough in the country) whilst it is recognized democratic custom elsewhere to share committees over all parties on a pro-rata basis. Those who head up committees get extra payment ! Suprise, suprise. dawboy

9:07pm Thu 13 Feb 14

Cadwallader says...

Those of us old enough to remember the indecent haste with which the council did away with the old Pay-and-Display machinery, will quite probably still feel that they wanted to make sure a cash parking system was going to be difficult and expensive to restore. This measure was intended to scupper any last minute attempts to stop the phone/card system by people who (in very large numbers) thought the new scheme would be the disaster it is.

The council appointed Brian "Not-In-The-Least-Bi
t-Unhinged" Coleman to the position of cheerleader and coordinator of the new Scorched Earth parking system, possibly because they could already see what a hash they'd made of it, and possibly because they just hate everybody.

At some stage, a deeply unpopular and vigorously opposed policy was approved, and the "make it impossible to put back" clause was included. Either it was voted on in the committee stage, or in open council. I doubt if Brian Coleman came up with the idea himself.

No trial period was declared. No attempt was made to forecast the effect on businesses around the borough. Concerned citizens were ignored, and in the completion and execution of the scheme, Mr Coleman roundly derided and belittled all opposition in that particularly endearing way he has.

Those responsible for this predictable (predicted indeed!) and expensive failure are traceable, and should be held to account, both for the damage to the borough's business community, and the replacement of the ticketing infrastructure and administration,

Being elected or appointed to public office does not give people carte blanche to play fast and loose with public money and resources. They wasted all that money, let them at least contribute to putting things right.
Those of us old enough to remember the indecent haste with which the council did away with the old Pay-and-Display machinery, will quite probably still feel that they wanted to make sure a cash parking system was going to be difficult and expensive to restore. This measure was intended to scupper any last minute attempts to stop the phone/card system by people who (in very large numbers) thought the new scheme would be the disaster it is. The council appointed Brian "Not-In-The-Least-Bi t-Unhinged" Coleman to the position of cheerleader and coordinator of the new Scorched Earth parking system, possibly because they could already see what a hash they'd made of it, and possibly because they just hate everybody. At some stage, a deeply unpopular and vigorously opposed policy was approved, and the "make it impossible to put back" clause was included. Either it was voted on in the committee stage, or in open council. I doubt if Brian Coleman came up with the idea himself. No trial period was declared. No attempt was made to forecast the effect on businesses around the borough. Concerned citizens were ignored, and in the completion and execution of the scheme, Mr Coleman roundly derided and belittled all opposition in that particularly endearing way he has. Those responsible for this predictable (predicted indeed!) and expensive failure are traceable, and should be held to account, both for the damage to the borough's business community, and the replacement of the ticketing infrastructure and administration, Being elected or appointed to public office does not give people carte blanche to play fast and loose with public money and resources. They wasted all that money, let them at least contribute to putting things right. Cadwallader

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