OLD people in Bexley have been left angry and confused after the council introduced a pay-by-phone only parking system.

New meters forcing drivers to pay for parking with their mobile phones have been installed at most on-street bays across the borough.

Introduced on Monday, they replace the previous coin-based option at 38 locations.

Drivers are also being hit with an additional 10p service charge to use the service on top of parking costs.

Many shoppers in Bexleyheath appeared unimpressed by the new system.

Some elderly drivers struggled to understand how to pay for their parking and do not believe the changes are necessary.

Loganathan Goundar, aged 61, of Latham Road, Bexleyheath, said: “I don’t think it’s a good idea. What happens if someone’s mobile phone is out of charge, then you get stuck here.

"They could have left the coin operated machines here too like they do elsewhere.”

Disabled badge holders meanwhile were left concerned as the new signs do not clarify whether they can still park in the bays without paying.

Michael Denbigh, aged 63, of Brooklands Avenue, Sidcup said: “With me being disabled, they haven’t said on the sign whether I can park or not.

"Normally at the other car parks they say we can park and it’s free.

"They have still got to send a warden round to check so it can’t save them much money.”

Meanwhile, a 66 year-old woman from Eltham, who asked to be named as Mrs Higgins, said: "I think it is disgusting. A lot of old people don’t carry mobile phones with them. It’s just complicated."

The changes are part of London Borough of Bexley’s Strategy 2014 and aim to reduce costs by saving money on meter collections.

Remaining and display car parks across the borough will still offer the option to pay with coin and the mobile phone system will soon be offered in these as an alternative.

Cabinet Member for Transport and Public Realm Cllr Peter Craske said: “This will make things easier for the majority of motorists and will save the council money too.”

A Bexley council spokeswoman said: “Paying by phone has already proved successful in other London boroughs and parts of the UK. We hope residents, once they get used to the new system, will appreciate its convenience.

"The signs on display set out the steps to follow, and once someone has registered, it is just a matter of sending a text message.

“If motorists continue to have difficulties using the service, they can contact the Council’s Parking Services team on 0203 045 3000, who will endeavour to resolve the problems they are having.

“For those who would prefer to use cash payment, pay and display parking is available at other locations in the borough.

"As under the old meter system, vehicles displaying a disabled badge, do not need to pay to park.”

Motorists are assured they only need to register once to use the service and this can be done over the phone or online. Upon ringing the number provided on signs adjacent to the parking space, motorists will need to input the location code also on the signs and how long they plan to park for. Free reminder emails are sent out reminding drivers when their time is due to expire or text messages can be sent at a cost of 10p.

Pay-by-phone bays:

Bexleyheath Town Centre

Chapel Road
Foresters Crescents
Hawthorn Road
Heathfield Road
Highland Road
Izane Road
Latham Road
Lion Road
Lynstead Close
Midhurst Hill
North Street
Oakhouse Road
Pelham Road
Rossland Road
Royal Oak Road
Russell Close
Sherbrooke Close
Standard Road
Tower Road
Townley Road
Trinity Place
Victoria Road
Warren Road
Walting Street
West Street
Woolwich Road

Bexleyheath - not within the town centre

Abbey Road
Devonshire Road
Lion Road
Pickford Road
Sandford Road
Harcourt Road
Upton Road

Welling Station

Bellegrove Road (Eastern end)
Coton Road
Edmund Road
Springfield Road
Welling High Street