A council is playing Santa Claus to its motoring public.
The council with the true festive spirit is St. Helens who have decided not to implement a new on-street parking scheme until after Christmas.

Bob McAllister, St. Helens parking manager, explained: We have purchased 27 new Metric Aura pay and display machines for on-street parking as part of the councils preparations for implement civil parking enforcement from next January.

We could have applied for CPE powers to come into effect before Christmas, but in recognition of the adverse trading conditions which are being experienced by high street retailers, together with the squeeze on household disposable income, the council decided not to introduce the increased possibility of being issued with a PCN as part of the build-up to Christmas.

At the same time, the council decided to keep the free on street limited waiting bays rather than converting them to on-street pay and display before Christmas

He said the decision to purchase the Metric Aura was the result of an intensive procurement exercise in which the Aura was assessed against offerings from other suppliers.

In considering a pay and display parking machine for location on street, the appearance of the machine was always going to be an important consideration and the Aura led the field in this area, said Mr. McAllister.

The suitability of the machine for disabled users was a strong point as was the flexibility of the machine in its offering of multi-language options as standard rather than as an expensively priced extra.

The council already had five Auras in various off-street pay and display car parks and had experience of both the quality, reliability and facilities offered by the Aura.

These off-street machines replaced older machines from another supplier and represented our first experience of Metric as a service provider.

The attention, advice and assistance that we received and continue to receive from Metrics Richard Boultbee was far and above that which we had previously experienced.

In our view this affords us a level of support which would be extremely difficult to match, said Mr. McAllister.

When the 27 new Auras go live the on-street tariff will be 80p per hour up to a maximum of two hours. Said Mr. McAllister: To avoid any allegations of unfairness for people who do not have the correct money, the machines have been programmed to give 15 minutes for 20p.

This means if a member of the public inserts a pound coin, rather than get one hour parking and losing 20p, they will receive one hour and a quarter parking time

The exception will be for amounts inserted in excess of the 1.60 which will only result in a maximum stay of two hours.

Said Richard Boultbee.
Metric Group Limited
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