Edinburgh drivers fined after RinGo free parking mix-up

Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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HUNDREDS of drivers have been slapped with parking tickets after being wrongly told they could park in the Capital for free.

A mistake with cashless parking system RingGo meant drivers who arrived on Tuesday opened the app to be told they wouldn’t need to pay.

However, many of them were then issued with tickets as the “parking holiday” only applied on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. They now face the prospect of contesting their fines – but there is hope the council will look “favourably” on appeals.

Dad-of-two Eammon Elrick was among those affected after coming to Edinburgh with his family to visit his parents.

The 28-year-old, from Bonnyrigg, said his RingGo app told him he wouldn’t need to pay after parking at McEwan Square.

He said: “I went on the app to pay for it but it didn’t seem unusual not to have to pay so close to Christmas and New Year. I was pleased there was free parking but I didn’t think it would be a mistake.

“It’s just a bit annoying because now we have to take time out of our day to appeal it and it’s quite a long process. I expect the ticket will get thrown out but it’s going to be a pain.”

The city council awarded RingGo, run by public services provider NSL, with a five-year parking contract in 2014.

A council spokesman said: “Christmas parking was advertised very clearly through our website and social media and is also marked on parking meters throughout the city.

“We are aware, however, that there was an error for a time with the RingGo parking payment service managed by our contracted partner NSL.

“We will liaise with NSL with a view to looking favourably on any appeals for tickets issued as a result of this.”

They added anyone who tried to pay by phone or text would receive a text stating contraventions would be cancelled. Those who tried to pay via the app should visit the RingGo website.

It is not known exactly how many drivers were affected, but with as many as 12,000 parking transactions recorded in the Capital on a typical day, it is thought it could be hundreds.

An NSL spokesman said: “NSL has confirmed that parking restrictions and charges in the city of Edinburgh do apply on Tuesday, December 27 and Monday, January 2 as stated on all pay and display machines and on the City of Edinburgh Council’s website.

“Full enforcement procedures apply on both dates in order to maintain safe and fair access for anyone visiting the shops and facilities in and around the city centre.

“The company has confirmed that it has been made aware of an incorrect instruction on the RingGo app and RingGo website and has asked for the instructions to be amended as a matter of urgency. It has advised anyone who has received an incorrect Penalty Charge Notice on December 27 as a result of the error to appeal to have their ticket cancelled.”