PAY & DISPLAY METERS FOR A WORLD HERITAGE CITY

Introduced by Chris Cook, M.D. of Alphia Services Ltd on 9 July 1997

Mr Cook compared the advantages and disadvantages of a voucher system, like that in present use
for on-street parking in Bath, and P&D meters.
Vouchers.
Advantages: No equipment and thus no maintenance costs.
Disadvantages: Vouchers have to be supplied to sales outlets and the money collected
Sales outlets may be few in number and only open for restricted hours
Marking of vouchers is confusing especially for foreign visitors as they are not
provided in foreign languages. Errors in marking cannot be corrected
Vouchers are easily copied on a colour photocopier
Pay & Display Meters.
Advantages: Machines can be battery-operated, small with low maintenance
The ticket provided is simple and commonly used throughout Europe. Instructions can
be provided in several languages on the machine
Various types are available from the simplest, which dispense one ticket for one
coin, to sophisticated which accept smart cards and bank notes and audit the transactions
Several tariffs can be provided, eg at different times or days and/or for different classes
of user, eg residents
Excess charges can be paid at the machines
The machine can issue a discount card for a business with the ticket so that the business can
sponsor the machine. The back of the ticket can carry an advert.
Disadvantages: Good signage is required to indicate where machines are located
Tickets can be passed on
The machines hold cash and can be robbed

The total cost over three years of the two systems was compared for a 50 car site charging for 6
days a week at 50p per hour. The printing cost alone for vouchers was more than the cost of the machine. It
is appreciated that sites in Bath are more usually for 5 - 10 cars than 50 and this comparison is being re-
calculated for the Bath situation.
During the extensive discussion, all these advantages and disadvantages were considered.
It was agreed that the simplest type of machine which provided one ticket with an advert on the
back and a discount voucher for a business in return for a variety of coins, but giving no change, was
favoured. Sponsorship and advertising from local businesses should be encouraged to pay for the machine
which was expected to cost around 1000 and to consist of a pillar about 15 cm (6") square and of a
convenient height. Collection of the money daily would discourage robbery. A more versatile type might be
installed at selected locations, for example to encourage residents to shop in particular areas by reducing
the fee for them.
Don Lovell