Thursday, 19 January 2012

Barnet Pay by Phone - How many Barnet residents have registered?

At a council meeting in December, Barnet Council announced the success of the Barnet Pay by Phone scheme. They announced that 115,000 people had registered. The implication was that this was because the scheme was popular. I wondered if this was the full story.

According to the Leader of the Council, there are 350,000 residents of Barnet. So the implication is that less than 1/3rd have registered. Not quite as successful then, is it? Then I thought some more. At the recent meeting the Leader also stated that there are 20,000 registered businesses in Barnet. I wondered how many of the employees of these companies are residents of other Boroughs, who have to drive to work and are lumbered with parking. The more regularly you have to park, the better pay by phone is. So I asked an FoI question

The Council Leader recently said that 115,000 people had registered to pay by phone.Please can you tell me how this figure was arrived at and what constitutes registering. Are all of these people Barnet residents?

Today I got the answer (late again.The council said

This number was the number of unique users who have registered on the system by any method to open an account, and have used this account to undertake a parking transaction in the London Borough of Barnet.  By this definition they are registered Barnet customers.

We do not have any details of their residence as this is not something that is needed for a phone parking account.
So we have absolutely no idea of how many Barnet residents are using the scheme. It is clear that the biggest beneficiaries are people like trade reps, who visit lots of shops in Barnet and wouldn't want to carry pockets full of change. I'm not against pay by phone, so long as there are credible alternatives and it is economically priced. Neither of these criteria are met by the current scheme.


button55 said...

So have a mole do we.Have printed this off this off very interesting,as you say how credible is it..

Morris Hickey said...

Is it Brian Coleman registered 114,999 times?

Peter said...

No, Morris - the explanation said 'unique' users. So unless he's gone round to find 114,998 different phones, it's different people....

Morris Hickey said...

Yes, Peter - I DO know that. Just try a slight smile.

Odi Caspi- Photographer said...

What other options do we have as you have removed the parking machines.
What I don't get is how you save the cost of running the machines, collecting the coins, maintenance but you have the cheek to pass the admin fee to us!!!
20p per transaction.
This means I have to pay £1 plus 20p for 30min parking
Thanks but I'll buy online instead

Well done Barnet, you have convinced me to not go and view your neglected high streets.