Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Coining It

Or “Penny Pinching” whatever heading you choose. It seems our Council has another unexpected expense to squeeze into their ever decreasing budget over and above the costs of introducing the new parking charge regime earlier this year and then taking it out again – The Royal Mint are changing our coins again and all the meters will have to be upgraded.
From January, the new coins are set to be minted using steel instead of copper and while they will have the same weight and diameter, the coins will be 11% thicker. Estimates suggest the Treasury will save £176 million by using the cheaper metal.

Upgrading thousands of parking machines to accept the thicker coins will cost councils in England and Wales £5.5 million and the LGA said the Treasury should foot the bill.
So that’s all right then? A £170 million saving overall.

But of course the Council may just not bother and force us to pay by Credit Card using our Mobile Phones, that is if we have one. Has anybody used this “service”? I don’t quite get how it works. You need some sort of receipt to put on your windscreen so the Traffic Warden, or whatever they’re called these days, knows you have paid. Answers in the comments please.

Hattip: Dopeyf


  1. no receipt needed. But it is a pain to use. in a noisy environment it can be hard to hear.

  2. Oh dear! It is not like B21 to be taken in by blatant scaremongering, is it?

    "From January, the new coins are set to be minted using steel instead of copper ..."

    Ah, copper! That would be the 'new' 1p and 2p coins, then, which have been rattling around in our pockets since 1992!

    True, the penny is slightly thicker than its bronze predecessor, but the thickness of the twopenny coin was unchanged.

    This time, it would appear, it is the turn of the cupronickel 5 & 10p coins which will henceforth be nickel plated steel.

    So what? It's a long time since we had telephone coin boxes with separate slots for 3d, 6d and shilling coins (or the 2p & 10p decimal version).

    These days, all coins go into a single slot - and there is no longer a complex mechanical system of springs and levers behind it to recognise the value of the coin or if it is good or bad.

    As each coin is inserted it goes into free fall and an electro-magnetic pulse is generated on one side as it falls - which is detected by a sensor on the other side - this produces a signal - the electro-magnetic signature - which uniquely defines the coin.

    Coin boxes have to be emptied regularly - for obvious reasons - and, I would expect, the machines registers are read electronically by a hand-held unit for audit purposes.

    All that is required, on the run up to any changes, is the following procedure to be carried out during the emptying routine:

    1. Switch hand-held unit to 'Teach' mode;
    2. Insert sample of new coin repeatedly until hand-held unit indicates that it is happy with the new electro-magnetic signature;
    3. Assign value to signature;
    4. repeat for additional new coins.

    And HOW much is this going to cost?

    No doubt the council's sub-contractors will be looking forward to a lucrative rip-off payment for this simple process ...

  3. Perhaps you should bid for the contract, Knowsie, and save us all a load of money?

  4. Knowsie, the estimate of £5.5 million comes from - that most revered - Local Government
    Organisation (now Group), which costs Redbridge
    Council Tax Payers £40,000 a year (or free parking in our Parks) However,everything they do costs at least 10 times more than any other organisation, after all it is only our money they throw away.

  5. I wouldn't trust the Local Government Association (or Grope if that us what it is now called) to submit an accurate estimate for a doughnut and a cup of tea.

  6. Morris, it has been renamed Group, but I think
    you have it right with Grope, for both relevance and our money.