If you are a driver in Benidorm you may have noticed the brand new high tech pay and display machines being installed around town. 77 meters are being installed – currently there are only 44 and work is scheduled to be completed by 1st July… but then remember this is Spain.
When you park in a blue bay you have to pay - white bays, IF you can find one, are free. At first glance they look very complicated but having tried one, they are fairly straight forward. The main difference is that you need to key in your car registration number, potentially a problem for holidaymakers with hire cars. The display ticket will have the registration printed on – meaning that you can´t pass it onto someone else if you have any unexpired time left.
Talking of hire cars, the paper counterpart of a UK license becomes obsolete from 8th June and there is an online system to obtain a short term confirmation which is valid for 72 hours. I spoke with Centauro in Benidorm and they told me that they don´t bother with the paper counterpart even now and heard that from a number of other rental companies – I think that it´s only in the UK that they check so if coming over and hiring a car don´t worry too much.
To use the parking machine press the WHITE start button and on the touch screen press option 1. You can then change the language to English by pressing the white button with a picture of two flags. Next you need to key in your car registration number on the keypad followed by the green tick. On the screen you then have option 1 or 2. For a normal standard pay & display ticket press 1 – if you have a blue exemption badge press 2 and parking is free for up to 2 hours. You then feed in the money – minimum time is 30 minutes, which costs 25 cents and maximum is 2 hours, costing 1 euro. The machines do not give back any change but amazingly you will be able to pay by debit card!
Parking charges apply in blue bays from 9:00am until 2:00pm then again from 4:00pm until 9:00pm (8:00pm between October and May) Monday - Friday and on Saturday until 2:00pm. If you arrive at say 1:30pm and put in for an hour it will take into account the two hour exemption and the expiry time will read 4:30pm – clever machines.
You can cancel a parking fine up to 30 minutes after issue and it will cost a very pricy 25 cents! Go to the meter and press start then go for option 2 to cancel a parking fine. Change the language and follow the instructions.
If you have had your car towed away, the municipal pound is now located in front of the L´Illa Sports Centre on Camino Salto del Agua. It is open 24 hours but be aware that they only take payment in cash – no credit cards, although they are looking into the possibility of having a terminal installed. Last time I heard the payments were well over €100 so take plenty – charges vary dependent on how long the car has been in the pound for.
One negative comment about the new machines is that the sun reflects off the screen, making it very difficult to navigate - even the parking warden I spoke to agreed with me. He was going to pass on my comment to the management so you may yet see a canopy being added to them!