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Millions at Risk of Isolation as Digital Parking Payments Replace Machines

2 mins read

Key Takeaways:

  • A recent survey by the RAC reveals that 19% of drivers report their local authorities considering or already scrapping parking payment machines in favor of digital payments.
  • The shift to digital-only parking payments may isolate millions of individuals who lack access to mobile phones or digital payment apps.
  • The survey indicates that 59% of respondents feel angry about the upcoming changes and believe they should have options to pay via a phone or machine.
  • Concerns are raised regarding digital exclusion and the widening digital divide, impacting individuals’ ability to perform basic tasks such as paying for parking.
  • The Digital Poverty Alliance emphasizes the need to eradicate digital poverty and calls for collective efforts to ensure access to devices, connectivity, skills, and resources.

Introduction

A survey conducted by the RAC reveals a growing concern among drivers regarding the replacement of parking payment machines with digital payment options. According to the survey, nearly one-fifth of drivers report that their local authorities are either considering or have already scrapped parking payment machines, leaving only mobile phone-based payment as an option. This shift to digital-only payments raises concerns about the potential isolation of millions of individuals who lack access to mobile phones or the necessary digital payment apps.

Public Frustration and Anger

The RAC survey, which polled 1,900 UK motorists, indicates that 59% of respondents feel anger and frustration about the upcoming changes. They believe that they should have the option to pay for parking using either a phone or a traditional payment machine. This sentiment is particularly strong among adults over the age of 65, with nearly three-quarters (73%) expressing their concerns.

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Discrimination and Digital Exclusion

The survey also reveals that 20% of drivers feel discriminated against due to their inability to use mobile apps for parking payment. This highlights the issue of digital exclusion, with millions of individuals lacking access to the necessary devices or skills required for digital transactions. Elizabeth Anderson, Interim CEO at Digital Poverty Alliance, comments on the survey findings, stating that digital exclusion affects millions daily and emphasizes the growing digital divide. As technology advances, those without access to devices or digital skills will be left behind, impacting even simple tasks such as paying for parking.

Addressing Digital Poverty

The Digital Poverty Alliance underscores its mission to eradicate digital poverty for all individuals. It emphasizes the importance of providing access to devices, connectivity, skills, and resources to bridge the digital divide. As the nation becomes increasingly digital, the collaboration of organizations and governments is crucial to avoid excluding a large number of individuals from society.

Concerns Raised by RAC Spokesperson

Rod Dennis, a spokesperson for the RAC, acknowledges that while mobile phone-based parking payment may pose no problems for many people, the survey clearly indicates that it is a cause for concern for others. The research demonstrates that a majority of drivers across all age groups view the removal of parking payment machines as a negative development.

Conclusion

The potential replacement of parking payment machines with digital payment options raises significant concerns about digital exclusion and the isolation of individuals who lack access to mobile phones or digital payment apps. The survey by the RAC highlights public frustration and anger, with many drivers expressing the need for options to pay via a phone or a traditional machine. The Digital Poverty Alliance emphasizes the urgent need to address digital poverty and calls for collective efforts to ensure access to devices, connectivity, skills, and resources. As technology continues to shape society, it is essential to bridge the digital divide and prevent the exclusion of individuals from vital services and everyday tasks, including paying for parking.

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