Why can’t we be given change by parking meters?

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Folks, I’m sure they used to do it, but now they don’t. In this wondrous world of technology, why can parking meters recognise and add up different coinage (5p, 10p, 20p, 50p and £1 coins), but they can’t do subtraction?

In other words the ‘no change given’ signs we see on so many parking meters.

It’s bad enough we have to guess how long we will be parked at pre-pay parking meters, so tend to overpay rather than risk a parking fine.

I usually put in for three hours, but in many cases return in two.

Have you noticed that you used to pay for the hour, but now it’s worded ‘up to’ the hour. Sneaky, eh?

Car parking charges in Southsea are £1.20 for an hour, £2.20 for two hours and so on. Well, what if you haven’t got the odd 20p? You kiss goodbye to 80p to Portsmouth City Council, that’s what.

So what happens to all those overpayments from the ‘no change given’ parking meters of Portsmouth ?

Stuart Kirkwood from Carlisle decided to find out in his city. In last week’s BBC1 programme Rip Off Britain, Stuart contacted Carlisle City Council on the subject.

Under the Freedom of Information Act ( FIA), he posed the question: ‘How much do the overpayments come to?’

Five months later, Carlisle City Council provided him with the information. In Stuart’s local car park, overpayments in meters over three years came to more than £11,000.

Blimey. There are 32 ticket machines across Carlisle, potentially coining in more than £35,000 over the past three years.

That’s a lot of loose change going into someone else’s pocket.

Yes, I know you can pay by debit card, but I’ve been told there’s a 20p charge for that.

And you could have the correct parking fee on you, which I do, mostly 5p coins. But many don’t.

Makes you wonder folks, how much Portsmouth City Council makes from overpayments in its car parks.