Locals are taking a stand against a growing trend of broken and faulty parking ticket machines in Amersham.

Amersham Town Councillor Rachel Dineley has urged Buckinghamshire Council to invest more in the town's parking facilities after four ticket machines in Sycamore Road car park were left broken "for many weeks".

Cllr Dineley said she had been told "repeatedly" that the council is planning to repair the machines and questioned where the £1.8 million profits made last year from local parking services had gone, if not into providing residents with a "reliable and user-friendly" way to buy their tickets.

She added: “In January, in extremely cold, wet and windy conditions, people had to queue for 15 minutes or more to make use of the one functioning machine.

“Then that one gave up, causing additional distress to the people unable to use RingGo. They are often the most elderly and sometimes disabled people, for whom parking elsewhere is simply not a realistic option.

“They are afraid of being fined as a result of being unable to pay. I have repeatedly pointed out the discriminatory impact on such individuals and have been effectively ignored by Bucks Council. They have failed in their duty to make reasonable adjustments for these many customers.”

Long-term Amersham resident Donald Westwater, 64, told the Free Press last Thursday (February 15) that all the ticket machines in Sycamore Road had been out of order for at least four days, leaving residents with little choice but to pay a minimum convenience fee of 15p for a ticket on the app RingGo.

Donald said: “Some of the people who were there didn’t know what to do – one old man was on crutches trying to put coins into the cash machine, but they were just dropping straight through.

“Even for those who managed to pay on RingGo, it costs extra, and a lot of people are struggling from a fiscal point of view at the moment. it’s the council’s responsibility to be diligent about this.”

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Speaking last week, Danny Wadmore, Manager of Amersham market, said: “Elderly customers cannot access RingGo – a lot (of them) don’t have a smartphone. Several have said to me that, despite coming to Amersham for years, they will not come to the market now because they can’t access the parking system. They are irate and frustrated.”

Steven Broadbent, Cabinet Member for Transport, said the council “always aims to repair parking payment machines at the earliest possible opportunity”.

Adding: “A number of cash payment machines in our car parks have reached their natural end of life and where it is no longer viable to carry out repairs, we have replaced them with machines that accept card payments and also promote an alternative digital platform.”

He also cited data showing that the majority of people prefer to pay for their parking digitally, with the number of customers paying with cash falling from 70 per cent to 17 per cent following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buckinghamshire Council said that surplus income generated from parking services is spent on “the upkeep of car parks” and other transport projects including environmental improvements.