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Westminster readies 'wave and pay' parking meters

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Westminster City Council is to trial "wave and pay" parking meters.

Drivers with contactless debit or credit cards will be able to wave them at the relevant meter from the New Year. The technology - being used for the first time in the UK - will be trialled on 20 meters in the West End, but could be extended if it is successful.

The technology comes from Parkeon and has been tested and trialled over 18 months. Southampton Council is also interested in the technology.

There are over four million contactless cards in circulation in the UK.

Currently some Westminster machines have Chip and PIN readers attached. The vast majority require you to pay by mobile phone, which can be quite a hassle, especially when you first set up an account. Westminster is the largest parking authority in the UK - half a million vehicles enter the area each day.

Old style coin meters, which had a 50 year run, were removed from Westminster in March 2009 because of increasing fraud. The council was losing over £100,000 a week because the machines were targeted by Cool Hand Luke-style thieves. The gangs used power saws and angle grinders to cut them in half and helped themselves to the coins inside. ®

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