Opinion: Why do so many council car parks not accept the easy option - bank cards?

Holidaying in Yorkshire holds many pleasures, and but here’s why you might need to bring the kids’ piggy banks.

By Nigel Thornton
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 1:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th April 2022, 2:20 pm
Paying to park shouldn't be this hard
Paying to park shouldn't be this hard

Staycation – the very word is enough to get grown men (well, those that are pedants anyway) spluttering with rage.

It has become a pandemic buzzword – not quite partygate nor covidiot – but still a word that has been given a new lease of life in our lockdown lexicon.

The reason ‘staycation’ creates such fury among some is its alleged misuse. The word is a portmanteau (I looked it up!) of stay-at-home and vacation. During the pandemic the stay-at-home bit has been used by the media to mean not going on holiday abroad. But, argue the finickity, staycation would mean I wouldn’t move out of the grounds of Thornton Towers.

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Anyway at Easter, the Thornton family enjoyed a staycation in the sense that we didn’t leave the country. We headed oop North to stay with Yorkshire Mother and use her home in York as a base for some days out in God’s Own Country.

One of the advantages of the staycation is that you don’t have a problem with the lingo – well, I didn’t but my Fenny wife and kids looked a bit perplexed at times.

There is one big problem holidaying in England and that is parking – and it’s not just the cost, although one day we had to shell out a whopping £15 for a day (we are in Yorkshire don’t forget).

Everywhere we went it seemed the local council had decided to make it as difficult as possible to pay to park, particularly if you are of an age where you can remember when England won the World Cup.

Most seemed to offer two choices – pay in cash or via an app on your mobile phone. For some reason being able to swipe your bank card, which would be my first choice, was never an option.

Paying by cash should be straightforward – but every machine we came to would only accept coins – and at £15 a shout that’s a lot of coins and despite scrabbling round in the car we could only make it to £6.29. Note to self: next time take the kids’ piggy banks!

So our only option was by the phone app. I have a mobile phone and I can make calls on it and if I’m pushed send a text but that’s about it. Fiddling about downloading and registering an app particularly when you have two impatient small people with you is not a great start to the day.

My declining eyesight and my fat little fingers didn’t help either, but thankfully the youthful Mrs T was on hand to sort it all out, albeit after a few expletives deleted.

No doubt some 20-something thinks this is all a great idea, but how would Yorkshire Mother have coped. Thankfully, she stayed at home.