A CASHLESS payment system has been introduced across a council’s on and off-street parking areas.

In line with World Health Organisation advice against using cash payments to lessen the risk of transmitting coronavirus, Durham County Council has partnered with PayByPhone to offer drivers using its 3,005 spaces the option of cashless payment.

It applies to all council-run car parks and on-street pay and display areas.

The system has been introduced to coincide with business reopening in the county, and the council’s reintroduction of parking charges.

It went live last Friday, ahead of the resumption of charging, on Monday.

PayByPhone enables motorists to pay for and manage their parking tickets online or over the phone.

Unique parking location numbers are clearly marked on ticket machines.

Users just need to enter the number into the system, with their car registration number and credit/debit card.

There is a 15p transaction fee for using PayByPhone.

Drivers will be able to pay for parking on their phones through the PayByPhone app or by calling the number displayed on signs in the car parking areas.

The app is quick and easy to install and use, giving drivers the option to extend their parking sessions remotely, in accordance with the car parks’ terms and conditions.

Councillor Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We want to ensure the safety of everyone who lives and works in County Durham and the introduction of a cashless parking option is one measure that will help to stop the spread of the virus.

“Using the service will help us all to follow government guidance as restrictions ease. It also brings more flexibility to shoppers and residents who are using our town centres, providing better value in an easy to use way.”

The Extend from Anywhere feature is also available to users with an Apple Watch using watchOS 4 and above, allowing parking to be extended directly from the watch. PayByPhone users can also opt in to receive text messages that remind them when their parking session expires.

The PayByPhone app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play Store and more information is available at www.paybyphone.co.uk.