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Digital Parking Permit Pilot Trialled In Reading

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A DIGITAL parking permit pilot is set to be trialled in Lower Caversham as part of a Council initiative to create a simpler, more flexible and more responsive service for local residents.

Key to the Council pilot will be feedback from local residents who live in the trial area and, if successful, it could be rolled out boroughwide.

Digital permits are registered on parking systems, which means wardens on patrol can instantly check on their handpieces if a vehicle holds a valid permit or not. It means no physical permit needs to be displayed on the windscreen.

Paperless permits have been successfully used in London Boroughs and other towns and cities for a number of years now. They provide a more responsive service for local residents because they can be issued instantly and without delay or break in cover. Currently people can wait up to 14 days for a physical permit to be posted.

Digital permits can reduce complaints to the parking enforcement team, as the scheme is not compromised by physical discs falling from windscreens, or visitor scratch cards being used incorrectly.

Importantly, digital permits also mean visitor permits can be used by the hour, instead of by the half day as is currently the case. This offers residents more flexibility and, as a result, better value for money.

The Council is proposing piloting the scheme in Zone 02R in Lower Caversham, covering the following streets: Ardler Road, Brackstone Close, Briants Avenue, Champion Road, Coldicutt Street, George Street, Gosbrook Road, Heron Island, Kings Road, Marsack Street, Mill Green, Mill Road, Montague Street, Nelson Road, Piggots Road, Queens Road, Send Road, Southview Avenue, St Johns Road and Washington Road.

The zone was selected because it is well defined and reasonably sized, with 584 current resident permit holders, and will offer the Council valuable feedback from residents living in the trial area. Residents in the zone would continue to apply for their permits online under the pilot, just as they do now.

A report to the Council’s Traffic Management Sub Committee on 15 June recommends a statutory consultation on the proposals ( Feedback will then be considered by the same Committee in September, ahead of the pilot being implemented in the autumn. If the pilot is approved the Committee will again consider feedback from local residents in the pilot area before Councillors consider whether it should be implemented boroughwide.

Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Climate Strategy and Transport, said:

“Digital permits are widely and very successfully used in other parts of the country and if approved following a statutory consultation process, this pilot will provide us with valuable feedback from local residents in the trial area.

 “The main advantages of digital permits are that they are instantly issued online, negating the delay and cost of physical permits being posted. The ability to use visitor permits by the hour should also prove popular, as it represents better value for money for local residents.

 “If the trial is approved, it is a change for residents who are of course used to seeing physical permits in windscreens. It is important to remind residents that just because a physical permit is not showing, it doesn’t mean a car does not have a permit. Our wardens will be patrolling the residents zone as usual and checking every single vehicle for a valid permit. “I would stress to residents this would be a pilot, which means we would welcome all feedback, both through the statutory consultation process and during the trial itself if it comes to fruition in the autumn. There are currently 19 residents parking zones in Reading, made up of 16,000 households and 12,000 parking spaces. Any future decision to introduce such a scheme boroughwide would be a major one and would be given careful consideration following evaluation of the pilot.”