Another 'nail in the coffin' of Banbury town centre as car park stops taking cash and card payments

Angry motorists have branded changes to a Banbury car park’s payment system as another 'nail in the coffin' for the town centre.
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The NCP car park at George Street, providing parking on a single level for the Bridge Street area, the bowling alley and The Range, has gone app-only. Users are longer able to pay by card or cash at a machine but must download an app and pay by smart phone.

The change also means the free hour’s parking offered to customers of The Range has come to an end. NCP said the move was precipitated by vandalism and trouble with the barriers.

The move to cashless payment has caused a brisk discussion on social media with a number of people on the Banburyshire Info site saying the move is discriminatory to the elderly and others who do not use smart phones.

The NCP George Street car park which has become payment by app onlyThe NCP George Street car park which has become payment by app only
The NCP George Street car park which has become payment by app only

One member of the public said: “So this excludes my mum who doesn't have a smart phone and anyone else in a similar situation. I love an app and I always think that should be an option but it shouldn't be the only option.”

Others said the change was discriminatory and an erosion of choice. The move towards a ‘cashless society’ came into the discussion with some advising motorists to boycott the car park entirely.

“I’m afraid that it probably won’t change but what people can do is refuse to do business with those that refuse cash maybe then they will realise when the profits go down,” said one contributor.

And one man said: “I won't be using any car park that doesn't offer at least a credit card payment. Another nail in the coffin for the town centre.”

A woman agreed. “I'm relatively young and have a smart phone. Many older people need to park in that car park as they can't walk far. They probably don't have a smart phone and if they did they may not be able to navigate the app.”

Another said: “My parents don’t have smart phones and this kind of thing has caught them out a number of times. Even with a smart phone you’re then forced to use data and give them your details, and you normally find this out when you’ve gone through the barrier. I don’t think this is progress.

One lamented: “The population is aging, but no allowances made for older people.”

A spokesman for NCP car parks said: “NCP can confirm that this car park is now allowing NCP app only payment. We encourage our customers to download the NCP app to easily manage their payment methods.

"App only payment on this site was a decision made as this car park was having issues with the barriers malfunctioning as well as being vandalised, and many customers were complaining about this, so we decided to remove the barriers to resolve this problem.

"At the same time, the Range decided to no longer offer the free one-hour validation period, and there are signs both in store and on the site from the Range explaining this.

"We sincerely apologise to any customers who find this method of payment is not suitable for them, but as a business we had to bring in a solution to the complaints we were getting regarding the barriers.”