Plea to scrap €750k plan for city parking meters upgrade

The programme to replace more than 80 parking meters in the city should be scrapped because it is a “complete waste of money”, a city councillor has said.

Fianna Fáil’s Ollie Crowe has called on officials at City Hall to “immediately abandon” their plans to roll-out new parking machines across Galway.

Cllr Crowe said the planned programme was a “complete waste of money”.

He suggested there was better technology available now – allowing people to pay for parking online on using mobile phones and apps – which would negate the need for an expensive replacement programme.

The savings would amount to €500,000-€600,000, he claimed.

“The Transportation and Infrastructure Department at Galway City Council are continuing to replace 83 parking meters in the city. As of this morning (Wednesday), 20 of them were done. I’m now calling on City Hall to stop this madness – it’s a complete waste of money,” he fumed.

Cllr Crowe likened the roll-out of the new parking meters as akin to building a whole series of telephone boxes around the city at a time when everyone has mobile phones.

“It doesn’t make sense; Galway City is the only city in Ireland where you cannot pay for on-street parking online. The technology is there to do it, there are a number of companies that can bring in this technology to Galway, which means you don’t have to spend €6,000 or €7,000 per new meter.

“There are going to be some people who will want to continue to pay at machines with coins and cards, but technology has moved on and we need to get real about it,” said Cllr Crowe.

At a Council meeting earlier this year, it was confirmed some €736,000 had been set aside to replace the city’s entire network of broken parking meters, which are losing the local authority revenue.

City Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said pay and display ticket machines ordinarily have a life expectancy of three to five years. Some of the machines in Galway hadn’t been replaced since 2002.

He acknowledged revenue was lost due to faulty machines but he said the City Council was not in a financial position to replace the machines during the recession.