Virtual permits and pay-on-exit – Major parking changes planned for York

A major overhaul of parking for residents and visitors in York is set to start – including moving to a cashless online system.

A raft of new measures are set to be introduced by City of York Council.

Senior councillors will be asked to approve the following changes at a meeting next Thursday (28 November):

  • launching an online service where residents can apply and pay for parking permits, as well as visitor permits
  • introducing shorter permits – such as monthly parking vouchers – and the option to pay by direct debit so residents can spread the cost
  • moving to paperless virtual parking permits
  • launching an app or pay by phone service to replace on-street parking machines
  • piloting a cashless payment system at Marygate car park – which could be rolled out to other city centre car parks
  • streamlining the Respark application process so that residents who want permit parking on their street wait less than a year for the change to be made

It is hoped the changes will make parking easier for residents and visitors, save the council money and improve the city’s transport network.

Virtual permit

half of the people who visit the council headquarters come in for parking services. Photograph: YorkMix
But there are no plans to reduce the cost of parking permits included in the report.

It says half of the people who visit the council headquarters at West Offices come in for parking services – so moving to an online cashless system would mean a “significant reduction” in trips to the customer service centre.

The introduction of virtual permits is also described as a “significant benefit” and could be rolled out across all residents’ parking permits and car park season tickets.

But the report adds:

  • The council will only launch a virtual permit once a workable solution for those without access to IT has been developed.

    The council … will ensure those that do not have access to IT or may lack the skills needed in to transact online are accommodated.

    We will work with our supplier to develop a replacement for the parking hotline so that a registration number can be reported electronically along with its location and if it is parked illegally it will be passed to the enforcement team.

A pay on exit scheme is set to be trialled at Piccadilly car park – which could then be rolled out across the city.

The report says it is expensive to send out staff to collect cash from payment machines and that the equipment regularly needs fixing and maintaining.

More user friendly

Cllr Andy D’Agorne. Photograph: David Lindsay
Cllr Andy D’Agorne, executive member for transport, called for a review of parking in the city last year and said he welcomes progress on upgrading parking services.

He said:

  • These changes will make parking more user friendly for residents.

    Quite a significant number of people coming into the council’s West Offices are there to deal with parking.

    One of the other suggestions is to introduce a direct debit so people can pay monthly for their parking permit.

    Anything we can do to help reduce the administrative costs means the council will have more money to pay for other services.

The deputy leader said people shouldn’t have to wait longer than a year from when they first requested a Respark zone to see it implemented – as long as it is wanted by the majority of residents.

“In the future the aspiration is to get a better idea about the areas that suffer from commuter parking but have been left out of permit zones.

“Existing zones could also be extended quicker to neighbouring streets – if residents decide that they want to be in a permit zone.”

As part of the plans, extra staff will be recruited to the council’s parking team to help speed up the roll out of new Respark schemes.

The report prepared for the executive meeting says:

  • The council has agreed to move to carbon neutrality by 2030.

    A significant element of the city’s carbon footprint is transport and the movement of vehicles around York.

    Parking provision and management is a key element in the delivery of the council’s ambition to achieve carbon neutrality and enhance residents, businesses and visitors experience and wellbeing by providing a future proof, fluid and efficient transport network.

It adds that the online self-service system will lead to efficiencies and mean less work for staff.

The project will be discussed at Executive on November 28 at 5.30pm.