A senior councillor of the Bournemouth Borough Council has endorsed the decision to invest almost £390,000 in cashless car parking machines.

By the end of March, between 70 and 100 new meters which will not accept coins as a form of payment, are set to be bought and installed.

The agreement also includes the option to buy and install a further 10 machines per year for the next three years, up until 2022. 

The four-year contract, which was given to Swindon-based company Metric Group, is estimated to cost £388,666. 

The total value includes the price of the machines, costs of installation, commissioning, software and licensing. 

Several machines have already been set up as part of the project.

According to the Daily Echo, the decision by Bournemouth was made after increasing levels of theft and damage to the machines were being reported. 

Portfolio holder for transport Councillor Mike Greene stated that the borough’s 30-year-old coin meters have become increasingly problematic. 

“The new machines will make it much easier for people to pay for their parking,” argued Councillor Greene, adding that “it has become more difficult to manage our machines. The number of thefts have gone up and in a lot of cases the machines are out of order more often.

“Fundamentally, people are not carrying coins anymore.

“People either have a phone, smart phone, debit card or credit card on them. The number of people who carry coins is very small in comparison.

“I think it is more than 99 per cent of people carry a card or a phone.

“It is far safer for everyone to pay to park without having the inconvenience of using coins.”

Councillor Greene also specified that machines in council-owned car parks will not be switched with cashless meters, as they may be redeveloped in the near future. 

It remains unknown as to whether the new Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council will be implementing the cashless machines across the unitary authority’s area. 

Councillor Greene noted however, that “cashless machines are more accessible to a great number of people and a modern way of paying.”