Parking at an Amersham car park was dubbed 'discriminatory' after on-going issues with payment machines forced drivers to risk a fine.

Drivers wanting to leave their cars at the Sycamore Road car park in Amersham town centre have struggled to pay for they visits.

Despite having four ticket machines dotted around the car park, drivers claim to have often found at least two of the machines out of action, sometimes three have been down, and occasionally all machines out of use.

Recently, a Chesham driver was forced to risk a fine after machines were out of use, and he was unable to pay via the parking app.  

Following complaints, the mayor of Amersham and councillors went down to the troubled car park to survey drivers’ parking experiences.

One driver Raf Saidi told the Liberal Democrat councillors at the car park: “Despite increases in council tax Buckinghamshire Council are failing to deliver the service we have paid for.

“Forcing everyone to use RingGo is a disingenuous way of increasing parking prices via the back door.

“Why can’t the machines be converted to accept debit cards?”

Bucks Free Press: Three drivers trying to pay via their phones at Sycamore Road car park (Mark Roberts)Three drivers trying to pay via their phones at Sycamore Road car park (Mark Roberts)

The councillors’ survey of 70 drivers revealed 56 percent were inconvenienced and disrupted by the machines not working.

Two thirds ended up paying with coins after they found and queued at a working machine.

When machines didn’t accept coins, drivers had the option to pay with the RingGo app.

However, the councillors found that only 15 percent of drivers wanted to pay with RingGo or via phone, and their complaints included being forced to pay more to use the service and difficulties getting it to work.

Nearly all drivers spoken to said debit card payment should be an option. 

Some drivers were forced to find somewhere else to park or leave their car without paying, and risk a fine, the councillors reported. 

Councillor Rachel Dineley said: “On Saturday 50 percent of car park users were [aged] over 60, and 80 percent of the over 60s wanted to pay with coins, mainly due to not having a smartphone or finding phone apps confusing, difficult, and time consuming. 

“This also applied to people of all ages who did not have sufficient manual dexterity or other conditions which made using a smartphone difficult.

“Buckinghamshire Council has been aware of the ticket machine problems for a long time and failed to fix them.

"We are concerned that this is indirectly discriminatory and the council is failing in its duty as a service provider under the Equalities Act 2010.”

Paying for parking should be a “quick and straightforward process,” councillor Dominic Pinkney said.

He added: “The fact this situation has gone on for so long is unacceptable.”

Bucks Free Press: Councillors Rachel Dineley, Dominic Pinkney and Mark Roberts at one of the Sycamore Road payment machines (Mark Roberts)Councillors Rachel Dineley, Dominic Pinkney and Mark Roberts at one of the Sycamore Road payment machines (Mark Roberts)

Buckinghamshire Council's Cabinet Member for Transport Steven Broadbent responded:

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the broken ticket machines in Amersham and Chesham and we acknowledge that they’ve been inoperable all too frequently.

"Unfortunately, the machines are quite old, require regular maintenance and suffer from ad-hoc failures. We have organised engineer visits and ordered relevant replacement parts via our supplier to get them all working again as soon as possible.

“In the longer term, to avoid increasing problems with these machines as they reach the end of their useful life, we are looking into replacing them with new ones.

“In the meantime, we will continue to maintain the current machines, and work to offer alternative payment methods alongside with other parking options close by. A full list of our car parks can be found at

"We appreciate car park users patience while we address these issues.”