All New Parking Discount for Windsor Residents to help Retailers

On Thursday the cabinet will meet and unless I am very mistaken, AGREE UNANIMOUSLY to their all new singing and dancing parking discount for RBWM that will take effect from April 2022.

This initiative is about driving shoppers into Windsor. Today I had to pop into town and with less than 2 weeks to go it’s dead. Please make an effort to try and buy some items from local retailers as I fear for their livelihoods.

The revised parking discount forces residents to buy a smartphone and download the Ringgo App if they want to be part of the scheme. The EQIA document says that there is a phone number that residents can book through. One of the biggest complaints about Ringgo is the lack of ability to communicate effectively when people have a problem with the App.

I had thought this was part of the budget but they will vote to spend £10,000 in January 2022, before the budget is agreed, on developing the App which amounts to Ringgo adding 4 forms to their system aka “money for old rope”, so is it dependent on the budget outcome?

Last year car parking revenues were down £3m but the Tories can find £10,000 to spend on an initiative that only benefits residents with smart phones who are happy to download the App which is currently around 35% of the population. 15% prefer to pay by cash, 50% by credit card.

The Conservatives removed the Advantage Card discount in 2020 as COVID hit. They claimed massive misuse, that there were 200,000+ cards in circulation and ex residents were taking advantage and losing the RBWM money.  But the Advantage Card scheme hasn’t been cancelled so it would seem the Tories are happy for retailers to be exposed this “criminal element” of our society!

My own take was that they saw an opportunity to maximise the cash cow which is parking revenues and add another million pounds to the annual revenues (over £10m at that time) by getting rid of the Advantage Card discount. The fact that they had managed the card issuing process poorly was a convenient excuse and not a real problem.

Now, because they have failed to deliver on so many of their manifesto promises, they are grasping at straws, trying to convince themselves that this idea will save face, generate some positive PR and deliver votes in 2023.

The social media vibe appears to be backfiring but they will plough on regardless. 

For me this initiative further disenfranchises those residents who don’t want a smartphone, who don’t want an App or to give their personal details over to a company they don’t know. Residents who don’t want to be forced kicking and screaming into a world of technology that they struggle to understand.

For me they have every right not to join in and that right needs to be respected.

The council, to my mind, need any scheme to be open to all. If it was a commercial organisation fair enough, crack on but this needs more thought.

The current stats in the paper, for the last 3 months, show that while 44% of payments are made by the Ringgo App in Windsor, it was 33% in Maidenhead. I’d suggest most of the 11% is the tourist factor and so to my mind it would be fair to say 35% of residents who use the car parks are happy to use the app.

This leaves 65% of residents who would rather not use the app to pay for parking. 50% use a credit cards to pay which they have probably had for many years and so trust the card company. That does not mean they are happy to use an App or give their details to Park Now Ltd.

This scheme only covers the ALMA ROAD and ALEXANDRA GARDENS car parks in Windsor. I suspect most local residents use Victoria Street as the walking flow into town from there is much easier than the chosen car parks. 

The estimate is that this scheme will cost £135,000 in lost revenue over a year. I appreciate that a complex formula would have been used to come up with the above and usage is not even over time but let’s try and simplify. 

£1.70 discount on a parking session = 79,411 sessions, equating to 1527 sessions per week. If residents use the car parks say 2 x a week, that’s 750 residents out of 150,000 who will benefit from this scheme. 

0.005% of residents.

When something in the order of 5% of Windsor residents voted for the Windsor Town Council it was considered insignificant and unrepresentative by the Tory administration!

So what does this initiative represent? 1,000x less!

For me, if you want to use council money to develop a parking scheme then it needs to address the needs of ALL residents and not just the select few.

A simple solution. Advantage Card in windscreen next to ticket gives you +1 hour and fees are raised to pay for this benefit to residents. So £2 for first hour, gives residents 2 hours. Happy days. I wonder what that would cost… I’ve asked officers.

Thank you.

Jon

One thought on “All New Parking Discount for Windsor Residents to help Retailers

  1. I work with the guys at RingGo … it’s been proven that the simplest parking schemes are the most effective. The more complex and ‘clever’ you try to be, the more risk/errors/unhappiness you introduce.
    Complexity is generally introduced because local authorities procurement teams are trying to find ways to generate revenue from a service … RBWM?

    Like

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