Theatre-goer criticises council's parking machines
BEMUSED Ray Bell has criticised new parking machines in Cheltenham's Regent Arcade car park.
The number plate recognition machines were installed last July.
When drivers want to leave, they use a touch screen to key in their registration number and a picture of their car appears. They then make a payment for their length of stay.
Mr Bell said the new machines were impractical for dozens of motorists using them after attending a show at the nearby Everyman Theatre.
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He blamed the devices for causing "utter confusion" and a long delay.
It follows the 75-year-old, who lives in Birdwood, near Gloucester, having watched a performance of a pantomime with his grandchildren and other members of his family.
He said he then joined a long queue for a parking machine but found when it was his turn to pay, he needed his car registration number.
He said: "I didn't know it. I had only had the car for a couple of weeks and I've not got the best memory in the world. So I had to go to the car to get the number.
"It may be a wonderful system if you're using the car park for shopping but it does not suit somebody coming out of the theatre with a horde of grandchildren."
He said he tried to pay using his iphone but was unable to do so.
After then being informed that he could pay his £5.50 parking fee at home using the internet, he left and later paid that way.
Owen Parry, the council's integrated transport and parking manager, said staff were available to help if there was a problem.
He added: "We appreciate that our car parks are very busy during the Christmas period.
"Our staff are on hand to help customers during these busy times and we have a range of different ways that people can pay for their parking; this includes pre-paying, paying by phone or within 24 hours of leaving the car park.
"We understand that Mr Bell isn't a regular visitor to this car park. However, his comments are welcome and will be taken on board."