Park­ing ma­chines finally tak­ing new £1 coins

Hinckley Times - - LETTERS -

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.

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