CHANGES to car parking in the district appear to be causing confusion as baffled motorists get their heads around the new system.
Since Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) was installed in Marlow last month, long queues and frustrated discussions have been a common sight during busy periods in Wycombe District Council-controlled car parks.
Instead of pay-and-display, ANPR cameras register number plates on entry and calculating the time spent in car parks.
Payment is then made at the end of the stay by entering the vehicle’s registration number, which is intended to make the process easier and more efficient.
But according to Princes Risborough resident Bob Street, who stopped off in Central car park in Marlow last Thursday, the new system is all proving a little much for residents and visitors alike.
He said: “There were a lot of angry people, some of them were fuming. Personally, I already have my car registered (for online payment), but people seemed to know nothing about it and I guess we all lose our rag from time to time.
“It looked as if people were confronted with this unexpectedly and quite a few had to go back to their cars because they couldn’t remember their registration numbers. There were some older people who didn’t seem to understand, I must admit I felt sorry for them.
“People will lose that three minutes parking that they avoid paying for by just nipping in and out, but being able eventually to park anywhere in the district without problem is a great thing.”
All WDC-controlled car parks, with the exception of Riley Road and Dean Street, switched to the system in July.
Drivers can make payment by cash, credit card, via the internet or on their mobile phones and will be issued a penalty ticket if they leave without paying.
WDC insisted extra staff have been deployed in the area to ease the transition.
Council spokesman Catherine Spalton said: “Our officers are in each car park for two weeks to assist our customers, as and when ANPR is introduced.
“Instruction leaflets are also issued before the system goes live, together with posters with instructions on how to use the system.
"On Saturday there were three officers in Central - one officer at each kiosk and one moving around the car park to assist. There were also officers in Liston Road.
“On Sunday, due to a technical issue, the machines in Central were covered over and so the three officers there were redeployed to Institute Road and Pound Lane. Two other officers were also in Liston Road."
The machines in Central car park behind the West Street Sainsbury's are currently out of service, with parkers reporting problems with their number plates being recongised.
Tariffs remain the same since the switch was made from mid July.
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