Parking machines finally taking new £1 coins
TICKET machines at a busy town centre car park have now been upgraded to accept the new £1 coin with just weeks to go before the old coin ceases to be legal tender.
Shoppers using the NCP-run multi-storey at the Britannia Centre had complained for months about having to scrabble around for other change or stockpiling old-style round pounds.
Even the alternative, proposed by NCP, of paying by phone using a debit card had been found wanting.
People were wondering if the machines would actually get altered in time for the deadline of October 15 when the old £1 becomes defunct.
Taking to social media to vent one frustrated driver posted to Spotted Hinckley: “Can’t believe that after five months of the new £1 coin the NCP Britannia car park still doesn’t accept it in the parking meters!! The old coin is invalid next month and many people are struggling to pay for parking as the old £1 coins are hard to find now! I had to park in a different Hinckley car park today as I had no old coins.”
The gripe prompted a glut of similar grumbles. Trudy Burton Gamble said: “It was a nightmare on Friday, only one machine was working on bottom car park, then there was massive queues due to the pound coin situation ggrr.”
Other posters suggested using a £2 coin, or 50ps - practical enough but not always easy.
The Hinckley Times ran a story about the failure to upgrade the ticket machines in June with NCP claiming it was only a matter of time before the change was made as a national roll-out was underway.
When contacted again a spokesman for NCP allayed concerns and was happy to announce the machines were now upgraded and would accept the new £1.
He added: “We can also confirm that in addition to the new £1 coin upgrade happening, we are also investing heavily in new parking equipment which will be in place by the end of the year for this site.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our customers by this issue, and thank them very much for their patience.”
The new 12-sided pound piece came into circulation on March 28 and was dubbed the “most secure” in the world, featuring a hologram at the bottom which shows a £ symbol and the number one depending on the light.
Its introduction was largely due to the ease with which the older £1 could be faked. The Royal Mint estimated around one in 30 old £1 coins in circulation were counterfeit.
Last year more than 200,000 new £1 coins were sent out for “testing”. It meant retailers, vending machine operators and car park companies could plan alterations to any equipment relying on coin payment.
Most people experienced little difficulty when the new £1 started to appear in their change at the end of March.
Supermarket trolleys readily accepted them, as did vending machines. It took only a software update to bring the car park ticket machines into line at sites run by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council.