back to article SMS-enabled solar parking meters for Eastbourne

The Sussex coastal town of Eastbourne is soon to receive a new hi-tech boon, in the form of solar-powered armoured parking meters which can send text messages. Apparently the machines, each of which has its own SIM card, aren't endowed with Douglas Adams style overspec'd artificial intelligence brains. Nobody need fear that a …


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  1. Simon Painter
    IT Angle

    So if they are text enabled...

    ...why can't they be credited with money by sending a premium text? Why can't they sms the person who is parked there 5 mins before the meter runs out and warn them so they can sms extra credit to the meter?

    This is not use of IT to make life easier, this is just another (possibly more expensive) way of doing something which is not innovative or useful to the public at large who pay for these things.

    I say sack the council worker who wasted (I would expect) millions of council tax pounds on this crap.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SMS when being raided.....and when your time is up ??

    More likely your friendly traffic warden will be informed that your time is up via sms.Maximise profits etc

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    nothing very useful for the users then

    from the title I thought, they might have had the idea of enabling payment by sms, and then possibly send you a reminder when your time is about to run out.

    Ho well... I'll just have to kick the machine repeatedly when it'll miserably fail to work after few foggy days or too much seaguls droppings, so that it sms for help and somebody will come to attend it.

  4. Mike Parris


    Not much chance of vandalism at the moment, as the "switch on" has been delayed because they have just found out that the scheme being imposed on the town by the County Council may not actually be legal.

    Shame The ever popular Mathew Lock did not wait until he had agreement with the local council before he blew £450,000.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They need Texting machines down the road in Lewes too...

    The latest sport in Lewes (the nearest large town to Eastbourne) is to blow up the damn things, in an objection to the parking scheme, the NCP gestapo, and the money grabbing East Sussex County Council!

  6. Simon Gray

    Lewes is only 20 minutes away...

    They might want to remember this -

  7. David Robinson


    Surely it would be wiser to use the text system to pay for parking, Thus meaning there is no cash in the machine. Maybe then the machine could text the person who has parked and then warn them of

    the impending running out of their parking time.

    Then if the payment hasn't been made within 15 minutes then issue a fine. Meaning we can rid ourselves of jobs worth traffic wardens.

    The machines could also have lazers installed to annilihate any said traffic wardens whilst providing a secondary function of heating the kebab you just bought.

    But then bored ticket vending machines my start communicating, work out that the human race is a threat to their peace an tranquility , especially the male form, being reason why they stink of p1ss on a saturday and the sexy bit of hardware down the road isnt interested in them. Start an uprising and kill all the humans in Eastbuorne!

    ROTM <fear> just give free parking and use the money to oooh i dunno not introduce meaningless £40 refuse collection taxes.

  8. cor
    IT Angle

    You are joking, right?

    Here in The Hague I park daily using an SMS parking service.

    Except that there is no meter, no coins and no overcharging. On parking I use my mobile to register the parking location number with an automated service. When I leave, I repeat the process in reverse. I pay only for the time I was parked, to the nearest minute.

    The "parking police" can check-up my registration on their UTMS-enabled hand units.

    This system is fraud resistant (against local authorities' employees), vandal-proof (it's virtual, there are no 'meters') and fair (you only pay for the used time). Furthermore I can check my parking history online and download it in spreadsheet or csv format.

    I can't believe anybody actually thinks this obtuse, stone-age solution mentioned in your article is a good idea.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if they have thought

    that the sim cards may become the target of the thieves now

  10. Andrew Bush

    And presumably...

    They will text the parking meter operative to advise them that credit for parking at the meter has just expired so he/she can nip over and issue a ticket, pronto.

  11. Chris Collins

    Further money spinning?

    Has no-one thought of the potential for "chat" text messages and other sms spam? You could churn them out whilst the thing was bored waiting for an ambush.

  12. Jac

    SMS in a Jam

    So the Eastbourne mafia will aquire some mobile phone jammers when pilfering parking dues. Great job on wasting money!

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Seems to me...

    ...that you don't need to break into the machines. If you want to thoroughly nargle the Council's meter income, all you need is a can of black paint (to be applied to the solar panel), and patience.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    keep the cops busy

    Sounds like an easy way to make sure the cops are on the wrong side of town while you rob the bank/gallery/whatever on the other side - just have friend or three walk along a few appropriate streets kicking each meter.

    I see the IT angle but not the Paris Hilton angle...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just some thoughts

    Never having used one of these meters, isn't it illegal to add more money after your time has run out.

    And living ooop north, i am led to believe the average age of Eastbourne's residents is somewhere near 80. Very tech savvy them OAP's , sorry silver surfers.

    PML at the black paint.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Eastbourne Council are a bunch of *****.

    Despite there being overwhelming opposition to this scheme, needless to say it still went ahead.

    Not only that, but at the open day that they had regarding the implementation of this scheme, they were specifically asked by residents about the size and placement of these units and whether they would be solar powered (due to the huge ugly solar panels that appeared on meters installed in Brighton some years earlier). The team running the open day blatantly lied and said that the meters to be used in Eastbourne were NOT solar powered and that the units were a new design that had significantly reduced their size.

    Of course, a few months later when they were put in, they turned out to be the HUGEST ugliest things you could ever imagine (complete with solar panel that was supposedly not going to be there) and they are placed at stupidly close distances to each other, blighting the whole area. Perhaps this is not such a big deal if you live in grotty part of the country, but this is going to ruin the seafront view.

    The utterly shameless mendacity of these people never ceases to amaze me.

  17. Shane Rogers

    Latest Report

    Four of the parking meters have already recieved an advance from Shane Warne...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Counter measures

    As meantioned above, I think all that is needed is needed to render said meters inoperable is a can of blackboard paint for the solar panel and some lead lining to stop any mobile signal.

    Anyone wanna join me for a spot of light vandalism on saturday, meet by the memorial roundabout @ 11pm (when the old bill have thier hands full with drunken yobs). If you can spot me, ill be the one clad in the ninja suit ;)

  19. Matthew Lock
    Jobs Horns

    Saturday night entertainment

    Anonymous Coward, we will see you there.

    Epoxy resin in the coin slot,

    blackboard paint on the solar panels...

    What fun.

    Perhaps it could become a new sport in Eastbourne. See how many machines each team can put out of action in 20 minutes...

  20. Matthew Lock


    The figure being mentioned of £450,000 is just for the meters themselves.

    A further £725,000 has ALREADY been wasted by the council as follows:

    £100,000 Consultants

    £ 50,000 Consultation and Publicity

    £ 75,000 Design/ Notices/ Procurement

    £500,000 Lines, Signs and Minor Works

    So that makes £1,175,000 so far...

    At least East Sussex county council have been honest (for once) and admitted to parliament that the scheme "is almost universally unpopular with businesses within the affected area".

  21. Matthew Lock
    Dead Vulture


    From the ESCC's own document on their website:

    "Overall, across the consultation area as a whole, 53 percent of residents and 84 percent of businesses said that they did not support the introduction of parking controls as described in the consultation leaflet in their road. An examination of the results of the response from businesses on a street by street basis indicates opposition to the proposals across the entire consultation area."

    So if 53% of residents and 84% of businesses are against it, how can it be at all democratic??? How can they get away with it?

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