Ipswich: New parking machines cause headaches for theatre visitors

New machines have been causing problems at Cox Lane car park in Ipswich.

New machines have been causing problems at Cox Lane car park in Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

A senior manager at Britain’s largest car park company has pledged to help customers come to terms with new machines installed at two of Ipswich’s busiest car parks.

New pay and display machines have been installed at NCP’s Cox Lane and Tacket Street car parks in the town centre.

They require drivers to put in the last three digits of their car registration number – it is a bid to prevent drivers handing over partially-used tickets to other park users on their way out.

The machines are already in use at many car parks across the country, but have only now been introduced in Ipswich – and have ended up confusing drivers who have not seen them before.

Some drivers are unfamiliar with the text-style keypad they need to use to put in the number, and the Star has been contacted by people who have been unable to read the instructions during the evening when parking for the theatre.

Some theatre-goers heading to last week’s performances of Cats said they had to queue for many minutes to buy tickets, leading to fears they could be late for the show – and with Peter Pan due to start at the Regent on Friday there are fears visitors could miss the start of the show.

However head of operations for NCP Roger Ashley said he would ask staff to try to be on hand to help customers over the next few weeks.

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And his staff would check on the machines to ensure the instructions were clear and were well-lit during the evening to help users.

He said: “Our customers are very important to us and if they are having difficulty with the machines we will do all we can to help them.

“These machines are quite common across the country now although I realise they can be confusing at first for people who have not used them before.”

Mr Ashley added: “We want people to come back to our car parks and for that reason we want to make sure they are as simple to understand as possible and we will do all we can to help them understand how to use them.”