Drivers given 8.6 million parking tickets by private firms in a year
Elderly drivers will be “unfairly penalised” by a new parking rule which will see motorists who pay with cash forced to cough up more.
Sutton Council increased their car park fees at pay and display machines back in June.
However, charges have been frozen for those who use an app or telephone line to pay the bill.
According to the BBC, the new rule means motorists have to pay £1 extra to park in the south London borough if they do not use the online services.
The Liberal Democrat council has now been called out by the Government who has urged officials to “reconsider” the policy.
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The rule change is likely to disproportionately affect older drivers who may not be accustomed to using the new tools.
A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities suggested it could “discriminate” against older motorists.
They explained: “This practice unfairly penalises those who choose to pay at parking machines and we ask that Sutton Council reconsiders their policy.
“Councils have a duty to ensure that they do not discriminate in their decision-making against older people or those with vulnerabilities.”
Data from Ofcom shows that just two-thirds of people aged above 65 use smartphones.
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If the concept is ever adopted nationally, almost 3 million elderly drivers will be caught out paying higher parking fees.
The RAC has backed the Government’s approach with Rod Dennis also branding the strategy “discriminatory”.
He commented: “It can’t be right that those who find themselves in this situation, or who struggle with technology in the first place, end up having to pay more just to park their cars.”
Meanwhile, Age UK has suggested the policy “unfairly penalises people who aren’t online or who don’t have a smartphone”.
Sutton Council have claimed the increased charges were down to the rising costs of maintaining the machines.
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Barry Lewis, chairman of the environment and sustainable transport committee on the council defended the concept.
He said: “We are encouraging all our residents and visitors to go cashless when paying for parking, with the incentive being a discounted rate.
“Unlike other councils who have completely removed the option for people to pay by cash, residents and visitors to Sutton still have the option to pay by cash at our parking machines.”
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