A DORSET County Council officer has admitted that attempts to bring a car parking guidance system to Dorchester had been ‘plagued with issues’ over the past 12 months.
Traffic control manager Matthew Williams gave a presentation to members of Dorchester Town Council’s planning and environment committee to address concerns they had raised over the effectiveness of the system.
He said that, a year on from the first phase of the scheme starting, the council admitted that the system – which was designed to alert motorists to vacant spaces in the town’s car parks through real time information – was still not working as they wanted it to be.
Mr Williams said: “We have been plagued with a number of issues unique to Dorchester.”
He said the council had used the same provider that installed the system in Weymouth and many of the issues that presented themselves in the county town had not occurred there.
Mr Williams said the provider was spending two to three days a week working in the town to look at issues and the work was not resulting in an additional cost to the council.
He said that many of the problems had resulted from problems with the mobile phone signal in the town and a change of network had resolved issues in a number of car parks, where accuracy was above 98 per cent.
Mr Williams said problems still remained in Durngate Street and that was being looked at this week, but he accepted the council may have to withdraw the system from that car park.
He said: “We are thinking we may not be able to get Durngate Street done at all, we may have to leave it unsigned.”
Mr Williams said the car park behind West Dorset District Council’s offices at South Walks House was also showing low accuracy while another problem that had hit the system over the last year was vandalism in the Acland Road car park.
Cllr Tim Harries previously raised concerns about the signs when many were also just simply showing ‘open’, describing the variable messaging system as ‘invariable messaging’.
Cllr Andy Canning said it was important that when the issues were resolved that this was communicated to the public so that faith is restored in the system.
He said: “I think one of the problems is that system lacks credibility.
“If people don’t believe the numbers there is no point in having signs at all.”
Cllr Trevor Jones said there were also still issues regarding real time bus information at bus stops in the town, three years on from when it was meant to be working.
He said: “It’s an unacceptable state of affairs.”