The introduction of pay and display parking meters in Cork City has been ruled out on cost-grounds.
A report to city councillors showed it would cost around €600,000 per annum to install and operate a network of 100 meters in the city’s central business district.
The money would cover purchasing, leasing, electrical, and civil works to install the machines, as well as the cash collection, banking fees and maintenance.
By contrast, the report said it costs around €200,000 per year to operate the city’s existing disc parking system which records some 1.2m transactions annually, and just €70,000 per year for 200,000 park-by-phone transactions.
“The cost of €600,000 per annum for 100 pay and display machines is not deemed to be a cost-effective method of collecting parking fees,” the report said.
It also pointed to the fact other local authorities which operate parking meter systems are moving towards cashless or phone-based parking systems.
The city council launched a new and improved park-by-phone service last May, and is planning to launch a new parking app within weeks.
Despite concern from councillors there has been a low uptake of the park-by-phone service, officials said they expect that to change when the new app is launched.
During a wide-ranging dedate on the issue, councillor John Buttimer said city centre traders are constantly asking for a varied and flexible parking system which would allow motorists pay for shorter parking periods.
“The parking disc system is totally antiquated and the park-by-phone service hasn’t been properly promoted or marketed,” he said.
“Traders are telling us they want a more flexible parking regime, offering shorter time slots, and parking meters would allow for that flexibility.”
Councillor Tom O’Driscoll said a parking meter system would be more user-friendly and could actually help boost the city’s parking income.
He called for a more detailed examination of the proposal.
He also said the hiring of three extra traffic wardens at the end of last summer has resulted in a small bounce in paid-parking income.
The debate took place as councillors adopted new parking bye-laws for the city.
The new laws were prepared to reflect enhancements provided by the park by phone service.
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