A NEW parking system at a shopping centre has been causing mayhem for motorists.
The Meridian Centre, in Havant, has seen angry customers abusing security staff after the old barrier system was replaced two weeks ago with vehicle recognition technology.
The new system clocks registration numbers on the way in. Customers then must input their registration details at meters once they have parked in order to pay.
Anyone who stays in the car park for more than 10 minutes over the time they have paid for could end up with an £80 fine.
The scheme has led to long queues at the pay meters because some motorists cannot remember their registration numbers off by heart.
Michelle Greenfield spent 15 minutes trying to work out how to use the system on Tuesday.
Mrs Greenfield, 54, of Hawkley Close, Leigh Park, said: ‘This is rubbish. It’s very confusing and I simply could not work out how to use it. There was a big queue of people waiting behind me and once they got on here they couldn’t understand it either.
‘Luckily someone helped me, otherwise I’d have been here all day. What was wrong with the other system?’
Andre Langford, 41, from Portsmouth, said: ‘It’s absolutely outrageous.
‘It’s a big rip-off. It doesn’t give you change and you could easily get confused and go over the time you think you paid for and end up with an £80 fine.’
Centre manager Rob Fryer said the barrier system had to be replaced because it kept breaking down causing long queues.
He said security guards had been subjected to abuse from frustrated shoppers.
He said he was aware the new system had flaws but it was judged to be the best for the centre. ‘We think the system we have put in has more positives than negatives,’ said Mr Fryer.
‘It’s confusing to some people but over time they will get to understand how to use it. We’ve put up lots of signage. The fine is in line with other car parks.’
He said a few parking meters now give change.