York’s Liberal Democrat councillors have called on the council’s new Labour administration to meaningfully consult with residents before making a decision on whether to roll out cashless parking across the city.
In a report considered by the Executive Members for Economy & Transport at a Decision Session held on Tuesday 11th July it was noted that in March 2021 the council took a decision to explore the removal of cash payments across the parking estate. At the Decision Session, the Labour Executive Member, Cllr Pete Kilbane, approved a recommendation to “consult members of the public to move to cashless payment methods across the parking estate then bring back to a future Executive Member Decision Session for decision to acknowledge the consultation findings and move to cashless payment methods.”
Lib Dem Transport Spokesperson Cllr Stephen Fenton has raised concerns that the wording of the recommendation makes it appear that a decision to go cashless is already a ‘done deal.’ He has called for meaningful consultation before a final decision is made.
Cllr Fenton commented “Over the past few weeks I have been speaking with residents at community events around my ward, and many older people in particular have expressed concerns that a ‘digital only’ approach for things such as parking risks leaving them behind and unable to access services. Many residents have told me that whilst paying for parking via an App would be impossible for them, paying via contactless card could be a feasible alternative to cash. There are also drawbacks with an ‘App only’ approach to paying for parking if, for example, your phone battery dies. It is essential that the consultation is not just a straight ‘Yes / No’ question but explores all of the issues and possible options. It is right that the council looks to cut costs where it can, but this must not be at the expense of residents for whom accessing services digitally is a significant challenge.”