Fishergate Centre launches new cashless car parking system - these are the changes you need to know about
A new cashless car parking system has been rolled out at the Fishergate Centre in Preston today (September 20).
This is everything you need to know about the new car park system
The car park is now operated by ANPR (automatic number plate recognition), meaning a camera reads your vehicle's number plate as you enter.
Instead of dispensing a token like the old machine, the barriers now lift up automatically as you approach, allowing faster entry.
Ticketless entry and exits also have the benefit of no lost tickets or ticket jams.
All the old machines are in the process of being replaced, but only two of the new machines have been installed at this stage.
The new machines will be situated in the same location as the old ones.
One of the new machines (pictured) is situated at the outside pay station and the other is at the bottom of the escalator inside the centre.
The new machines do not accept cash, but shoppers will have several options to make payment, including contactless bank cards (credit and debit), smartphones or the Glide App (which does not require you to visit a pay station).
The equipment is supplied by Newpark Solutions, which is the only UK-based manufacturer of ANPR cashless equipment.
The car park will be operated by Fishergate Centre itself, and will not be contracted to a private firm such as Parking Eye. It will operate without enforcement and penalty fines.
The cost of parking has not changed and all prices and time limits remain the same. The car park will operate 24/7.
The free 30 minute 'Click & Collect' parking offer will continue, allowing shoppers to pick up items from Argos or Debenhams.
Shoppers are being urged to remember their number plate registration before attempting to pay, as the parking fee cannot be processed without it.
But some shoppers have complained of long queues at the pay stations today, due to the car park having only two of the new machines in working order.
The Fishergate Centre said the system change over will be completed by next Thursday (September 26).
A spokesman said: "We are currently installing ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) cashless car park equipment. We expect to complete the installation early next week.
"We are operating fewer pay stations than the full complement. As such, we are seeing short-term queues building at peak periods.
"But the speed of transaction is far faster than the equipment being replaced and so lengths are being effectively managed.
"The payment system is very intuitive and if the shopper can recall the vehicle registration, payment is very speedy. We have received many compliments about the introduction of ANPR, which went live today.
"Tariffs remain unchanged and there is no enforcement, fines or penalties. We value all our shoppers and want them to enjoy state-of-the-art technology that will deliver the best parking experience in Preston.
"Payment is via card, both contactless and Chip & Pin; smartphone with wave and pay. We will also launch an App over the next few weeks that will allow shoppers to visit and exit without using a paystation.
"We expect to complete the equipment changeover by Thursday, September 26.
"In the meantime we apologise for any short-term inconvenience to our shoppers during the transition to the ANPR cashless car park system."
The shopping centre said one of the reasons for its upgrade of the parking system is to make the car park more environmentally friendly.
"One of the reasons for adopting cashless payment is the ongoing trend towards a cashless society", said the spokesman.
"However, the greater aim is our ambition to pursue a more sustainable environment for the car park by adopting a simpler operation that delivers a smaller carbon footprint by requiring less energy usage, fewer manufactured components and less maintenance visits."