York Green Party understands and appreciates the benefits of moving car parking in York to a cashless system, with significant advantages for the Council in not having to manage cash and undertake the task of collecting it from machines.
However, it’s vital to consider that 14% of individuals (1 in every 7) still rely on cash for their transactions. The ability to pay in cash remains essential for several disadvantaged groups. For instance:
- People who find themselves in abusive and controlling relationships may have their activities and whereabouts constantly monitored. Opting to pay in cash allows them a degree of privacy, ensuring that the controlling individual remains unaware of their movements. For example, they might use cash to conceal the fact that they’ve visited York or a particular friend. This is not just a matter of convenience but a critical safety concern. Such compelling reasons alone should be enough to continue accepting cash at car parks.
- There is a section of the population that either lacks access to bank accounts or, if they do have one, it doesn’t come equipped with a debit/credit card facility. These individuals would face further exclusion, even being excluded from accessing York, if cash payment options were removed.
Additionally, in our push for digitization, it’s essential that we don’t inadvertently create monopolies or exclusivities. We strongly advise against entering an exclusive agreement with just one pay-by-phone app provider. Instead, we should offer a range of commonly used pay-by-phone providers found across the nation. Doing so would prevent users from the inconvenience of installing multiple applications, especially when traveling.
Moreover, the digital payment platforms, be it through apps or websites, should provide functionalities like paying and topping up in shorter intervals. Such features would enable a more user-centric and tailored experience for the residents and visitors of York.
Given these reasons, we firmly believe that York should retain the cash payment option and, in fact, should broaden the spectrum of payment methods available to its users. It’s crucial that we prioritize inclusivity and user convenience in our decision-making.