Queues at Welwyn Garden City car park as payment machines fail

WELWYN Hatfield Council has played down a technical glitch at a WGC car park today (Wednesday), that left customers unable to pay to release their vehicles.

The problem started at around 4.30pm at Hunters Bridge car park in Osborn Way, when shoppers returning to their cars found the facility’s hi-tech number plate recognition system had failed.

The system requires customers to key in the last three digits of their vehicle registration number, before selecting a picture of their car and paying the fee.

Today, however, motorists were given a selection of seemingly random vehicles, leaving many “frustrated” as queues started to form.

Eye witnesses Roger Francis told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “People were getting very irate.

“There were queues when we arrived in Hunters Bridge. We went up to the Howard Centre machine and there were queues there too.

“There are random pictures of cars appearing. In the queue I was in, people were getting quite frustrated. Nobody’s car was appearing.”

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Mr Francis said he believed part of the problem was down to the number plate recognition system itself, which takes still images of cars as they drive into the car park.

“Unless your car is square on the display, there’s a parallax,” he said.

Mr Francis added that he managed to pay by entering his full registration number, and typing in the time he arrived.

Hunters Bridge is managed by parking firm CP Plus, on behalf of Welwyn Hatfield Council.

Acouncil spokeswoman said: “One of the six parking payment machines in Hunters Bridge car park had a technical fault today.

“This lasted for around 30 minutes.

“However, staff were available on site to advise users of the car park and help them to pay for their parking as quickly as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”