Belfast Telegraph

Retail chief welcomes clarity around new Belfast parking system

NI Retail Consortium director Aodhan Connolly
NI Retail Consortium director Aodhan Connolly

By Eimear McGovern

Retail chief Aodhan Connolly has welcomed clarification from the Department for Infrastructure around the introduction of a new Belfast parking system after it gave three days notice of a major change in payment options.

The department announced on Friday it would be switching from the Parkmobile application to pay for on-street parking in Belfast, Lisburn and Newry to new partner JustPark.

The application allows the public to pay for parking through their mobile phones.

The move prompted criticism after it was announced the switch would be made by January 6, with just three days between the announcement and the implementation date.

Director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC) Mr Connolly said the news was important for shoppers and workers.

"Three days notice? Really?" he said, posting on Twitter.

"If you had worked with us we could have let shoppers and biz know about this."

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Other Parkmobile users hit out at the changeover, with one saying it was "no doubt a commercial decision".

Another said: "Three days notice is poor. Plenty of people use this app and will no doubt feel the wrath of parking wardens because of this poorly communicated info."

Mr Connolly later said the Department for Infrastructure had been in touch with him regarding the issue.

"There is a two week overlap [between providers] and people will be let know by text."

He said there would be a reduction in transaction charges from 15p down to 8p.

Consumers would be required to download the Just Park app before January 16.

The Department for Infrastructure said Parkmobile customers would be informed by text of the change.

"There is a two week overlap period, when it will still be possible to use both the Parkmobile and JustPark Apps," a spokesman said.

"If customers wish to continue using Cashless Parking they will need to register their vehicle and method of payment details with JustPark or download their app.

"Once registered, they can pay for and manage their parking using a mobile phone, mobile app or online. The change to JustPark will benefit customers by reducing the cost of the transaction fee from 15p per parking session to 8p.

"Existing Cashless Parking stickers on Pay and Display machines, which indicate how to pay, are being removed and replaced with JustPark stickers."

For more information on cashless parking visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/street-and-street-parking  or www.justpark.com.

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