Bingo! No notice as parking in South Croydon goes digital-only

Unsanctioned: the council has done little to penalise illegal parking on Selsdon Road

A digital-only parking trial that has been described by residents as “idiotic” and “unfair to anyone who doesn’t own a smartphone” has been launched this week in South Croydon – the ward which Croydon’s piss-poor Mayor, Jason Perry, represented as a councillor for 28 years.

The council has shut down all its parking meters in the misnamed Restaurant Quarter and nearby Selsdon Road, and expects all drivers to use the RingGo app.

The council announced the digital parking “trial” for South End and Selsdon Road only on Monday, the same day it was the scheme was brought in, claiming that it “is set to make it easier for more people to visit the area and support local businesses”.

But residents and the self-same local businesses dispute that, saying that using RingGo is clunky for those who have the online app, and impossible for anyone who cannot afford a smartphone.

It is another scheme overseen from the desk of the council’s £150,000 per year rubbish director Steve Iles.

The council says that the trial will last for an unusually brief period of just four weeks, until July 9. It has not offered any suggestion that it will be monitoring parking use, or shop footfall, during that period.

Locals, shop-keepers and shoppers using the village-like Selsdon Road for its coffee shops, florists, nail bars and deli have often complained that parking restrictions there are regularly ignored, with broken pavement slabs a dangerous hazard for pedestrians, and said to be caused by constant pavement parking by vans delivering to the vape shops that have moved on to the street.

Parking enforcement officers are, according to one disgruntled shop-keeper, “Rarer than the dodo.”

In its press release issued on the day the scheme begun, the council claimed that “The move comes as part of Mayor Jason Perry’s plans to… modernise services”. Which is councilspeak for cutting jobs and digitising all contact with the public.

Turned off: you cannot park in Selsdon Road or South End now unless you have a mobile phone

The council said, “Shoppers will continue to be able to get a 30-minute free parking session and be able to use the bays for up to two hours, to encourage regular turnover creating more spaces close to shops.

“The trial has been suggested as a way to ensure this service is being used as intended – to support our businesses by encouraging people to pop to local shops.”

The council pay and display machines were switched off on Monday. “Instead of getting a printed ticket, motorists will need to use the RingGo parking app to obtain a free session. One free 30-minute parking session will be available per vehicle within any 24-hour period.”

But RingGo is only available on Apple and Android.

“Those who cannot access the app will be able to call RingGo on 020 3046 0010 to arrange a session,” the council says, underlining the dependence on vehicle owners having a mobile phone.

“The council welcomes any comments on this trial,” they say. Not that anyone really believes them.

The council’s online survey can be found here.

“We need to make sure our free parking offer is working as intended to support the businesses that rely on a turnover of customers,” Part-time Perry is supposed to have said.

‘Really pleased’: Mayor Jason Perry

The same Mayor who recently hiked all residents’ Council Tax by 15per cent said: “I’m really pleased we’re taking this step, so shoppers arriving by car can spend less time looking for a spot, get 30-minutes’ free parking and keep supporting our fantastic local shops.”

The Tory Mayor, who is paid £82,000 per year by Croydon Council, said nothing about the lack of parking enforcement being used in the area to deter illegal parking and to generate income for the cash-strapped council through penalty charge notices.

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20 Responses to Bingo! No notice as parking in South Croydon goes digital-only

  1. JB says:

    You also get charged a fee for using RingGo and other parking apps so no longer no choice as to whether you pay that fee or not.

    • CentralCroydon says:

      Only if you request a text reminder. If you don’t, then there is no charge other than any parking fee. If you have the app on your phone, it will countdown the session for you and display on the phone.

  2. Michael Sims says:

    “Which is councilspeak for cutting jobs and digitising all contact with the public”. I think that you mean “which is councilspeak for cutting jobs and all contact with the public”.

  3. Diana Pinnell says:

    It is hard to use the phone apps on a sunny day. when it is impossible to read the phone screen. Also, I would suggest that if Croydon is determined to make us all buy parking using mobile phones, they should at least ensure that the same provider and therefore the same app is used throughout the borough. Purley Hospital has changed its provider since my last blood test there, and now I can only use an on-line web page on my laptop (which I do not take with me to the hospital) as the Android app refuses to install on my phone. My background in IT and digital security makes me very reluctant to give credit card and personal details to multiple parking payment companies each of which I use rarely.

    • Ravi says:

      I would recommend using a virtual disposable card, or at the very least a bank account that has minimal funds in it to reduce your risk to these apps.

      Using your phone in the sun is quite easy to figure out.

  4. Tony Watson says:

    This has also happened in the Whitgift multi-storey car-park (and, I guess, the other multi-storey car-parks), but not using RingGo but using YourParkingSpace. Purley Hospital is a different apps again – my phone is starting to fill up with parking apps!!!

  5. Jack says:

    Another idiot on the block, definately not listening

    • Ravi says:

      The only segment of people this impacts, would be the significantly elderly, but that would be a very small segment.

      Most people have a smartphone these days, so I’d rather rely on my phone than an old box in the ground that could be vandalised.
      If you can afford a car and fuel, then you can afford a cheap phone.

      There is the issue of having multiple parking vendors and their apps trusting their bare bones security. But there is a way around that. Only use a card that has a small amount of money in or its very easy to create a disposable/virtual card for these things.

      This is a non issue for me.

      • Ian Kierans says:

        You do miss the point Ravi.
        If I am a customer and want a loaf of break and get told by the baker I can only have that loaf if I do a sprint and spend money on a smartphone then also spend 10 – 20 minutes initially completing a digital obstacle course. Respectfully I am going to the baker elsewhere.

        I am also interested in why you believe that those disadvantaged are a small segment and because of that – well thats ok to severely disadvantage them forever especially when it is also against laws to do so?(there are quite a few thousand by the way in that small group and in Croydon come from quite diverse ethnic backgrounds – tens of thousands)

        The purpose of Councils is to provide for all groups and not disproportionately disadvantage on equality grounds particular groups.
        Something that this Council repeatedly and consistantly fails to take any notice of especially when it comes to Equality assessments.
        But as you say it is a non issue for you – so you do not care? If you did have an issue where you were treated unfairly would you be pleased when everyone said to you well thats a non issue for us?
        Anyway just some observations you may wish to consider or not.

  6. Richard Slater says:

    Is there a car owner/driver out there who is prepared to own up to the fact that they can’t use a mobile phone?

  7. Lewis White says:

    Why do I need to go to the bother of having a special card–
    I just want to pay with money–or a credit card.

    The stress, when trying to phone RingGo, and wondering if you have actually paid is just not worth it.

    It takes the pleasure out of the trip, if one is worried about the latter.

    Off to free parking at Purley way, I think.

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