BAFFLED drivers are boycotting a Perth car park – because the new ticketing machine is “more challenging than an honours degree”.
Recent changes at the Kinnoull Street car park means that motorists have to enter their vehicle details into meters.
The confusing new system has left drivers “anxious” and “uncomfortable” as many have to walk back to their car to remind themselves of their registration.
One man was even fined after accidentally entering a zero in place of the letter O.
Local councillor Alexander Stewart said he had received in the region of 40 complaints from disgruntled drivers, and worries that the confusion could jeopardize Perth’s economy.
However, Smart Parking, who operates the meters, said the new system had cut the number of people failing to pay.
Councillor Stewart said: “This is causing real anxiety among residents and visitors alike because people now feel uncomfortable using the car park in case they do receive a penalty.
“Others who have received one or more penalties are now boycotting it, which could have an impact on the city centre economy.”
His colleague Elspeth Maclachlan said she had also experienced difficulties when using the car park, and added that the machines were “designed to confuse”.
She said: “I am used to exams and have an honours degree and two post graduate qualifications but passing those seemed less challenging than that ticket machine.
“It is not good for the local economy for visitors coming to the city to spend their money to be leaving without spending a penny just because they could not work out how to buy a parking ticket.”
Local John West, 64, used the multi-storey car park at the beginning of February, shortly after the new system came into place.
The Pitlochry resident, who has an incurable lung condition, struggled to find the pay point and had to return to his car to check his registration in order to comply with the altered system.
The flustered motorist then mistakenly entered a zero instead of the letter O when inputting the information into the machine, and was slapped with a fine from the company.
He said: “They didn’t advertise that they’d changed the parking system. They’ve just taken out all the machines and put new ones in the corridor so you had to find them first.
“With the new machines you have to put in your registration before putting your money in.
“There was a queue of people there and three quarters of them didn’t know what their registration was — I didn’t know what mine was — so we all had to go back to our cars and come back.”
Another local, Kay Brown, has vowed to never return to the site.
“I had already decided to boycott the car park even before I received a parking notice as it is not a user friendly system,” she said.
“I witnessed several elderly people struggling to enter their registration numbers. I also saw many people having to go back upstairs to remind themselves of their registration number.”
A spokesman for Smart Parking said: “Smart Parking has managed the Kinnoull Street multi-storey car park for a number of years using a pay and display system which was designed to allow all motorists to have fair and equal access to car parking.
“However, there has been a serious problem of people parking but not paying. Since the introduction of the new technology, incidents of people parking without paying have dropped by 71.4% and this means there are now more spaces for paying customers.”