Rugby’s new free parking pass system is ‘too complicated’, according to some of the town’s independent shop owners.
Rugby First and Rugby Borough Council issued the passes last month which entitle shoppers to four hours free parking in the John Barford and Newbold Road car parks after 10am.
The passes are collected from shops and used on the next visit to town, or downloaded from the town centre website.
Customers validate the pass by texting their registration to the Rugby First mobile number printed on the ticket. They also need to fill in the date and time on the ticket, which is then displayed in the vehicle.
Diane Griffith, owner of Terracotta Boutique on Regent Street, said the system needs to be improved.
She said: “Free parking is a good idea but the current system is too complicated and it doesn’t provide the right kind of parking for shops around here.
“If the town centre is going to compete with Elliott’s Field and other retail parks then this needs to be improved quickly.”
Niki-Lu’s owner Anne said the system needs tweaking.
“It’s a good idea but it needs to be simpler and not everyone is aware of it.
“The selected car parks aren’t ideal and some people don’t like the idea of texting an unknown mobile number.”
Some customers thought they needed to wait for a confirmation text from Rugby First but that is not the case.
Aftab Gaffar, managing director of Rugby First, said: “The feedback to date from businesses and customers has been very positive.
“The car parks were chosen specifically for the scheme as they are easy to access, have capacity to accommodate additional vehicles and are conveniently located just a short walk from the town centre - despite what people may think.
“I do understand that some people who don’t text feel they are missing out on the free parking and we are looking at this but currently texting is the most effective way of registering the vehicle and works for the majority of customers.”
For more information and to download a pass visit www.rugbytowncentre.co.uk.