A SCROOGE council will no longer accept small change in their parking meters to avoid having to upgrade their machines.
Bosses at Edinburgh City Council say their machines will be unable to accept new 5 and 10 pence coins, due to be brought in next year, because they are slightly thicker.
But rather than upgrade the machines that have decided to phase out the smaller coins.
City chiefs argue that converting their existing meters would cost £360,000 but critics fear it could pave the way for higher parking charges.
Currently one in five of all coins put into Edinburgh’s meters are 5p and 10p coins.
Under the new system motorists could end up paying more then necessary if they do not have the correct change.
The council, which already charges £2.60 per hour in some areas, also plans to increase the meter “increments” from just 5p to a whopping 20p, as well as introducing minimum stay charges.
Motorists could be forced to fork out for up to a minimum of 18 minutes, even if they only plan to leave their car for a few minutes.
The changes are due to start on January 1, ahead of the April review of charges for the new financial year.
The city’s transport leader, Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, said: “The simple choice we have is paying out £360,000 to change all our machines or making some minor changes to the fee structure that does away for the need for 5p and 10p coins.
“I recognise the inconvenience this may cause some drivers but in the circumstances it’s the better option for the taxpayer.”
In a report, Dave Anderson, director of Edinburgh’s city development department., said: “The most cost-effective option for the council would be to leave the ticket machines as they are and not accept the new 5p and 10p coins when they come into circulation.”
Officials had considered upgrading the city’s 1200 on street ticketing machines but were told by supplier Parkeon that to upgrade each machine would cost £300.
They hope the changes will encourage more people to use their phone based cashless parking system, RingGo.