Free parking conundrum - does anyone know the answer?


#1

I use the RingGo app to pay for parking in Lewisham car parks. On Friday morning I logged on for 2 free hours parking in the Sainsburys car park. Later in the afternoon I needed to briefly park in the Perry Vale car park. App said no, I had exceed my allowance of free parking ‘in this location’.

I went and got a paper ticket and tweeted Ringo to ask what was going on. This is their response:

I’ve had a look at the Lewisham website and can’t find any information that suggests you can only park for free or for the three hour sesssions once a day, or that you can’t park use different local car parks more than once a day and have the ‘free’ period reset. It would make sense to have a minimum ‘no return’ period so people can’t just roll over their free or short period parking via the app. But there were 5 hours between my first free 2 hours and second. Sure, I can just get a paper ticket for the second parking if it happens again, but am I actually breaking a rule here?


#2

Based on all my other experiences with RingGo, my conclusion is that they are not the cleverest bunch, and a) it probably hasn’t occurred to them, or b) they haven’t been able to figure out how to develop the app to allow for that. It took them several weeks to fix a bug in the app that they introduced where you couldn’t “pay” for the 2 hours free parking because it wanted to charge a “diesel surcharge” (forcing me to use the ticket machine at Sainsbury’s for 2-3 weeks) – seems like something fairly obvious you would pick up during any normal development and testing cycle, and absolutely fundamental to a parking app in use by multiple councils around the country.

Every time I have had an issue with the app (many many times), I have come away feeling frustrated at how unfair it is for such an undeserving company to be rewarded with government monopoly status.


#3

That’s what I suspect. They’ve identified a potential problem (people rolling over free or short term parking via the app) and applied an arbitrary rule that doesn’t take into account real-life usage.

I’ll probably need to flag it to Lewisham.


#4

Our local council uses a Ringo type app for parking, no option of using real money. The difficulty is there is no signal for phones in a number of their car parks.

Fail.

I found Ringo very hit and miss and got a number of fines as my parking sessions had not registered. A real PITA to fight.


#5

Hmmm looks like I’ll be having to use Ringo in Perry Vale today: