Rushmoor Borough Council has introduced pay and display parking equipment into its car parks which accepts payment by magnetic pre-payment cards. This is the first major installation of its type in the United Kingdom. The pre-payment system is marketed under the name 'Easypark' with cards of value 3, 10, 25, 50 and 125 being sold at outlets within the borough. The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 as amended by the Parking Act 1989 requires that innovatory parking control systems be approved by the Secretary of State for Transport before they can be introduced. Special Approval, when granted, is for a minimum of two years. During this time use of the device can be monitored to ensure it functions reliably and efficiently and does not disadvantage the user. Two questionnaire surveys of parking behaviour were made during the first twelve months of the system's operation. The aim of these questionnaires was to determine motorists' knowledge of the Easypark system, the use made of the system and difficulties experienced by car users. An analysis of the proportion of total car park income generated by the Easypark cards is included within the Report. Possible system enhancements which might make magnetic pre-payment cards more acceptable to motorists and equipment purchasers are also discussed. (A)

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