Commuters parking at 25 Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) stations will soon save time through the convenience of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR).
The new system, to be installed by the end of September, means that motorists no longer need to walk back to their car to display a ticket and can even catch a train and pay later, on line.
In a separate programme, clamping is to be trialled at several stations, to target persistent offenders who refuse to pay their fees and fines.
GTR’s Business Development Manager Karl McCormack said: “The new number plate system will save our passengers valuable time, especially in larger car parks, with no need to walk back and forth to display a permit. All they need to do is enter their registration number at the payment point and walk straight on to catch their train.
“Those with season tickets are automatically registered on the system, so they can just drive in, park and go; those without can pay at the machine with cash or card, by phone, on line, or on the move using our parking contractor’s app. Payment can be made at any time up to midnight on the day, although we encourage prompt payment so people don’t forget.
“This is all part of the modernisation of our network and services to make travelling easier for our passengers.”
The system, which also eradicates the problem of printed tickets fading in sunlight, is tried and tested. GTR has been using it at Haywards Heath station car park for many months and at Brighton for several years, where passengers say they really appreciate the convenience.
Staff will continue to patrol the car parks to provide security, cleaning and maintenance, and will still issue penalty notices if customers park incorrectly in restricted areas such as disabled drivers’ bays.
The 25 new stations where GTR is introducing the ANPR system are:
- North of London: Cuffley, Royston, Harpenden, Hertford North, Arlesey, Harlington, Luton, Luton Airport Parkway, St Albans Victoria Street, St Albans Station Way, Radlett, Elstree & Borehamwood
- South of London: Ashtead, Dorking, Eastbourne, East Grinstead, Leatherhead, Lewes, Lingfield, Oxted, Polegate, Redhill, Sutton, Three Bridges, Upper Warlingham
Despite the many easy options for making parking payments, a small number of motorists frequently evade payment. To target these persistent offenders, who take up space and often prevent others from using the busiest car parks, clamping is to be introduced as a trial at several locations, from late August.
Some individual drivers have collected four or more unpaid penalty notices each, and a very few have more than 20 outstanding. They have continually ignored the resulting notices, and declined to use the formal appeals processes.
In the interests of fairness to the vast majority of motorists who pay for their station car parking, as a last resort, GTR has asked Indigo, who operate the parking facilities on behalf of GTR, to engage a clamping company who will immobilise persistent offenders' vehicles at selected stations. Clear advance warning signs will have been in place for several weeks at all locations that may be chosen for the trial.
McCormack said: “We thank the vast majority of our passengers who adhere to the parking terms and conditions, but we have to address those individuals who frequently evade payment. We are testing whether clamping will help us to recoup outstanding payments, to ensure fairness for all passengers. We don’t want to clamp a single car, but if we have to we will use the money recovered to invest further in our station parking.”
Over 100 of GTR’s train stations offer paid car parking facilities. The revenue gained from this is reinvested in our services to benefit passengers.
Notes to editors
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