Beat that parking ticket with your mobile phone

Birmingham motorists will soon be able to beat the traffic warden without leaving the office.
The city council is launching a new mobile phone payment system which allows drivers to pay for and update their parking ticket using their mobile or the internet.
The service, which will start next week, can also send warning text messages when a ticket is about to expire.

The launch coincides with a new text service for West Midlands buses.

Over 1,700 bus stops and shelters across the region will be allocated special codes so passengers can text to find out when their bus will arrive.

The multi-million pound project - developed by regional public transport body Centro-PTA, local authorities, the Department for Transport and Travel West Midlands - will use satellite navigation systems to track 366 buses.

Birmingham City Council said the new parking system will be limited to its inner zone street parking and city centre pay and display car parks for the first 12 to 18 months.

But, if successful, it could be rolled out across other areas of the city.

It is thought the system - made by US company Verrus and already used in York, Salisbury and Cardiff - will help motorists avoid parking fines.

Each traffic warden will also be given a Blackberry hand-held computer so that they can see at a glance the licence plate and expiry time of all cars parked using the system.

The service will cost 10p a time when the parking tariff is under 2 and 20p when it is more than 2.

The cost of the new West Midlands bus service is 25p per text.
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