A new phone system for car parking payments has been launched in the heart of Lynn.
The technology, called PaySmarti, is currently being trialled in the Tuesday Market Place and West Norfolk Council leaders intend to extend it to other sites in Lynn and Hunstanton.
Drivers who use it will have to pay an additional 20 pence in administration charges for each payment, and extra for text message reminders when their period of parking is about to run out.
But David Pope, the authority’s cabinet member for ICT, leisure and public space, said: “We are answering the demand for more convenient ways to pay for parking in West Norfolk.
“Once it has been set up, paying for parking by phone is an easy and convenient process, whether you use it on a daily basis or only occasionally.
“Many of us don’t carry much cash these days and prefer to use a debit card, and paying for parking is now one more occasion when cash isn’t needed.
“Over 200 motorists have already signed up to cashless parking, and we hope even more residents and visitors in King’s Lynn will take advantage of this choice being offered to them.”
Proposals to introduce alternative systems for paying charges in council car parks, like those which are already in place at the town’s railway station and the Church Street car park, operated by NCP, had first been indicated several weeks ago.
But the formal announcement of the move comes just a week after the authority announced it was abandoning its plans to reinstate the use of keypads on its parking meters.
To use the system, drivers can register online at www.paysmarti.co.uk by entering their mobile phone number.
They will then receive a text message with a confirmation code which can be used to set up an account with their name address, debit or credit card number and vehicle registration details, which can then be used to pay for parking either by text or online.
People can still use the system without pre-registering by phoning 01604 210933 and entering the car park code, which is 7000 for the Tuesday Market Place, the registration number and length of stay.
Parking wardens will be told which vehicles are covered by payments made using the technology.
Mr Pope said: “I would urge everyone who wishes to use cashless parking to pre-register, as it makes the process incredibly speedy.
“However, if you wish to use cashless parking without registering, it is very important that you reply to the text you’ll receive asking for confirmation of your vehicle registration number.
“Overlooking this confirmation text has previously led to motorists being issued Penalty Charge Notices.”