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Opinion : Pay and display is best – ANPR failed the test of time

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Regular readers will know of my dislike for the newfangled ANPR technology that was introduced in Wycombe’s car parks a few years ago.

You can imagine how pleased my good self was when I read the article that appeared in the news section of this site a few days ago entitled ‘Car parks in Wycombe to return to pay and display as ANPR technology is ditched‘.

Goodbye and good riddance is what yours truly says to the dreadful spying camera technology that reads your car number and issues the registered owner of the vehicle a fine if the vehicle leaves without paying.

It seems a weak spot in the technology appeared when the Government restricted access to the DVLA information which was used to find out who owned the vehicle that was leaving the car park. The end result was that the owners of the cars which left the car park simply could not be identified.

Well, in my opinion that’s not the only problem with the system.

The ANPR parking technology worked by taking a picture of the car registration upon entry to the car park, when the motorist returned they typed the registration number of the vehicle into a payment machine, paid and left the car park with the ANPR camera on the lookout for registration plates of vehicles leaving without payment being made. Motorists had a few minutes to pay and leave, under the watch of the spy camera, or they would be penalised for overstaying.

There was always one very serious flaw in the system, namely that the registration number was the only piece of information needed to pay at the machine.

May times your humble servant has heard tales of young delinquents watching the cars arrive in a car park. As soon as the owner had gone out of sight they would go to the payment machine, enter the registration of their victims vehicle, insert 50p (usually the payment due after being in the car park for a few minutes), then run off laughing. The rascals!

Of course when the owner arrived their vehicle was classed as being in the car park too long after payment had been made leaving an awful nightmare to be sorted out.

I have even seen heard tales of unscrupulous motorists leaving the car park with an accomplice holding a large piece of card, or the carpet from the vehicles boot, over the number plate of the vehicle as it entered the car park and left the car park thus depriving the ANPR camera a view of the vehicles registration and giving the driver free parking.

ANPR was the ugly side of parking. Pay and display is far better as attendants are required to patrol the car parks, having real people walking around is far better and safer than a cold machine not to mention helping to reduce crime in the car parks.

ANPR may have offered cost reduction and efficiency over human contact and service however the system had too many flaws.

The reintroduction of pay and display will also create jobs as parking attendants will once again be needed. Workers can get jobs and earn money to feed their families rather than money being spent on electricity to feed the all seeing camera.

Personally I have avoided the towns car parks since ANPR was introduced, the sooner it’s gone the better then my good self will start using the town centre car parks once again.

What do you think?

*My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

You can also follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ivor.wycombe or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Ivor_Wycombe.

Comments (1)

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  1. McD says:

    Quite agree.

    Well said Ivor 🙂