Pay and Display is Disappearing – So What Now?

Pay and display parking is fast disappearing and being replaced with parking apps. Whilst app-based parking is convenient for the tech-savvy, concerns are growing about its impact on some drivers. Critics argue this could be a tough ride for those who don't own a smartphone, or who aren't comfortable using technology - especially older drivers who depend on their cars.

So why are pay and display meters disappearing, and what are the implications for drivers? Here, we explore everything you need to know about the changes and reveal the best parking apps to install.

Why Are Pay and Display Metres Being Removed?

Pay and display meters currently rely on 3G mobile networks to process card payments. However, major networks like Vodafone, are planning to dismantle their entire 3G network by the end of the year, with EE and Three following suit in 2024.

To upgrade these meters to 4G would be far too expensive according to local councils. For example, one council estimated that each meter's upgrade would cost around £700. For meters that cannot be upgraded, it would cost a whopping £5,000 to replace them.

It isn’t just the cost of upgrading or replacing the meters that has led to the decision to scrap them. Issues like theft and vandalism have also made parking apps a more appealing option for councils.

What Are Parking Apps?

Parking apps are smartphone applications designed to streamline parking payments. They're considered a more convenient option, letting you to manage your parking straight from your phone. However, it’s not just one app that covers the whole country. There are over 30 different apps, such as RingGo, JustPark, and ParkMe.

To use these apps, drivers need to register and set up payment methods in advance. This could involve entering details such as your vehicle registration, a payment card, and sometimes, your parking preferences. Despite the initial setup, many find these apps a convenient alternative, making the process of parking smoother and more flexible.

Are Parking Apps Safe?

Understandably, many drivers are worried about how safe these apps are. Is your data safe? The good news is parking apps typically use encrypted technology to protect user data. This means your personal information, including payment details, are converted into a code that helps prevent unauthorised access.

However, it's crucial to remember that not all apps are created equal. Whilst most follow stringent security protocols, the level of safety can vary between apps. Therefore, it's highly recommended to do your homework before you decide which one to use. Look for reviews, check their data handling policies, and see what security measures they implement.

You should also ensure you download apps from trusted sources like the App Store or Google Play Store, as they screen for security issues. Remember, a secure app can make your parking experience not only convenient, but also worry-free.

What is the Most Widely Used Parking App in the UK?

There are a lot of different apps available in the UK, but RingGo typically comes out on top. It's the UK's most used parking app, making it a breeze to park without scrambling for loose change. What's even better is that its features extend beyond just making payments.

One of the best features of RingGo is its simple map search. This shows you where parking spaces are available, using colours to help you understand your options. It also points out any special rules for certain parking spots, helping you avoid getting a ticket.

Using RingGo to pay for parking is easy. You simply enter the parking code, pick how long you want to stay, and then pay. If you've got more than one car, or multiple parking permits, no worries! You can keep all those details stored right in the app. It's like having your own personal parking assistant.

The Best UK Parking Apps

  • Appy Parking
  • JustPark
  • NCP Parking

Appy Parking

Appy Parking is a free app that began as a solution for Londoners looking for street parking. Now, it not only helps you find on and off-street parking spaces, including electric chargers, but it also provides real-time availability, parking rules, and price comparisons. You can also navigate to your spot and get walking directions to return to your car. However, its coverage is limited to London and 11 other major UK cities.


JustPark, often referred to as the Airbnb of parking, stands out for its unique offering of privately let spaces and garages. Although it may not provide as many options as some other apps, JustPark lets users reserve and pay for specific parking spots in advance.

NCP Parking

NCP Parking is a must-have app for anyone looking to find a parking space quickly. As the leading car park operator in the UK, NCP not only directs you to the nearest car park and provides information on prices and availability, but it also helps you record your car's location and get walking directions to and from it.

Don’t Get Left Behind – Switch to Parking Apps Today

Change isn’t always easy, but it is inevitable. With most pay and display parking meters set to disappear by the end of the year, now is the time to make the switch to parking apps. Most are simple to use, and once you get used to them, they’re super-convenient too.

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