Elderly feel ‘isolated’ from city centres as councils ditch cash parking

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Elderly drivers feel they are being banned from parking in city centres as councils ditch cash pay and display machines for digital payments.

Angry older road users have blasted local authorities for ditching traditional methods as many councils turn their backs on cash.

Half of London boroughs have removed some or all of their parking pay and display machines.

Outside of the capital, Brighton and Hove Council ditched their parking meters at the end of May.

Instead, officials are turning to online parking apps or digital transactions to pay for parking fees.

READ MORE UK councils blasted for ‘discriminatory’ parking rules in blow to elderly

However, there is concern the move could disproportionately affect older road users who may not be as tech-savvy.

One older motorist told GEM Motoring Assist: “I am 84 years old, live alone in a very rural location and do not have a mobile phone because I cannot get a signal at home.

“I am OK with using my debit card or cash at parking meters. Having only the option of app payment would preclude me from using a car park.”

A second driver also called out the concept, admitting older motorists could struggle with the technology needed.

They remarked: “I consider myself to be fairly savvy with regard to technology. However, I feel that older people are particularly victimised and undue stress is caused.”

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Another road user also revealed the changes could risk “isolating” people who were too confused by digital transactions.

They explained: “I really believe that taking away a cash option would be disastrous and could isolate many people. At a time when many towns are struggling, and empty shops are becoming a normal sight, I can’t see this being beneficial on any level.”

The decline of 3G networks is understood to be behind the move with councils not prepared to spend thousands of pounds to install up–to–date payment tools.

But, Neil Worth, GEM chief executive, claimed it was vital councils did not “alienate” motorists who preferred using cash.

He added: “Not everyone has a smartphone, so it is simply not right that parking in our town centres and high streets should be available only to those who do have one.

“It seems a clear case of discrimination against those who cannot – or would rather not – switch to app-based payments.”

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