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Park and pay with your smartphone: it’s easy in Stockport

by Iain Roberts on 10 November, 2012

Across Stockport Borough – at Council car parks and on-road parking – you can now pay to park cashlessly. No need to remember your change or go to the Pay & Display machine, no need to display a ticket. If you want to extend your stay, there’s no need to return to the car and it doesn’t cost a penny more.

If you’ve got an iPhone or an Android smartphone (e.g. Samsung, HTC) the quickest and easiest way to park is to download the free app from RingGo.

Here’s how to get started.

1. Sign up on the website

Note: Ringgo offers an optional service to send you a text when you park and when you’re parking time is due to run out. Each text will cost you 10p so you might want to untick those options. You can easily turn them on and off later on, from the website or the smartphone app, if you change your mind.

2. Download the Ringgo app from your app store (just search on Ringgo).

The top three buttons on the app are the ones you’ll use most of the time: to book your parking, see your current and past parking sessions and see a map showing where the local car parks are.

3. Checking your sessions

On the sessions screen you can see your current and past parking sessions.

This easily allows you to see how much time you’ve got left on your current session. You can extend your current session, or if you’re parking in a car park you’ve visited before, you can use this screen to park there again.

4. Finding car parks on the map

You can use the map to find local car parks and, by selecting the car park of your choice, to book your parking.

Alternatively, every car park has a unique number (which is on the large stickers on the pay&display machines) and you can just enter that to select the location.

5. Paying

You’ve already entered your credit/debit card details on the website, so paying is simple. For security reasons, you’ll always be asked to enter the 3-digit security number from your card.

Unless you’ve chosen to have the additional text messages sent to you, paying on your smartphone – or by phone, text or web – costs exactly the same as paying with cash.


7 Responses

  1. bruce thwaite says:

    Instead of creating new methods of paying for car parking you should be creating free car parks. I noticed earlier this year that the free 90 minute parking has been withdrawn at the Peel centre near PC world. Another reason for shopping elsewhere.

  2. Iain Roberts says:

    Hi Bruce,

    The Peel Centre is a private car park with no connection to the council, so I can’t speak for them.

    We raise about £3 million a year from Council car parks and on-street parking. Were we to make car parking free, we would either have to find £3 million from elsewhere (e.g. increasing council tax) or make £3 million of additional cuts to the budget – on top of the £26 million we’re making this year and next.

    That’s a difficult problem to tackle. In out of town shopping centres like Cheadle Royal, Handforth Dean and the Trafford Centre, the traders pay for the free parking and that’s an option we can explore – but with many businesses already feeling business rates are too high, I can imagine there won’t be great enthusiasm for increasing them further.

  3. Leigh says:

    Or just go to the Trafford Centre and park for free and spend your money there, instead of in Stockport. I do, but I’d like an alternative!

    I know this is a difficult decision, no one thinks it’s easy. What I do know is that I go to The Trafford Centre rather than Stockport because a) it’s under cover b) it’s easy to get to and the clincher, the parking is free.

    I am not employed, associated with, nor do I have relatives or friends that employed or associated in any way with The Trafford Centre

    What I am, is a concerned citizen who pays council tax to Stockport and some it should be used to allow FREE car parking for a 2hr period every day of the week. It could be done for a trail period of, say, 6 months, then it could be reviewed to see if more custom was generated for the town’s retail and other businesses. All day parking would still generate money for the coffers. With shops struggling, a lot of them closing down, the retail centre of Stockport needs all the help it can get. I say, put Stockport on an EQUAL footing with The Trafford Centre now.

    Oh, yes, I do not own, nor do I have relatives or friends who own retail or other businesses in Stockport. I’d just like to have the ability to get there using my car, do some shopping, go to a cafe and spend money that, quite frankly right now goes to The Trafford Centre and I suspect a lot of other people do the same. To me, Stockport centre feels dead. Other’s may disagree but to me there’s zero life in it, so there also needs to be other things done to improve the centre of Stockport and action on parking to bring in more trade will be a great start.

  4. Iain Roberts says:

    Hi Leigh, I take your point, though I have to disagree on Stockport being dead. I spend quite a lot of time in Stockport town centre and have to say I agree with the official figures which say it’s busy and getting busier (there are issues with some parts, like the marketplace, which are being looked at in the Portas Pilot).

    The issue with offering 2 hours free parking is the same as offering all-day free parking: who pays for it?

    Parking will be free after 2pm this Wednesday for the christmas lights switch on so why not give it a try and see if it still feels dead.

  5. Leigh says:


    Thank you for the info about Wed afternoon.

    Is that a recognition that free car parking will encourage people to visit Stockport?

    If the car parks are always full then obviously this is a non issue!

    If there are lots of empty spaces that need to be filled to bring more footfall to the town, then reducing prices is an option that should be explored.

  6. Iain Roberts says:

    Hi Leigh,

    You’re right that it should be explored, and is being explored. At the moment we aim to offer free parking for some key events, such as the run up to Christmas. That’s what we can fit within the current Council budget.

    If we want to do more, the discussion has to start with where the money will come from. If we don’t want the parkers to pay for parking, it either comes from general taxation or traders (neither of which I’m comfortable with).

  7. David Johnson says:

    “Footfall” is an appropriate expression – even better without tyre wear! Shopping at local village facilities will reduce traffic congestion/pollution/noise/fuel use and benefit the village community. Shopping at Centre car parks is a convenience that needs providing and maintaining at a cost. One way or another the shoppers pay for the convenience – it should not fall on taxpayers shoulders.

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