According to a survey of 16,000 members, the AA has discovered that seven out of 10 of us hate using ‘pay by phone’ parking metres and would far rather just jam in some coin. 

 According to’s own research, the older you get, the less likely it is you own a smartphone. Lo and behold, then, a full eight out of ten pensioners said they would drive on rather than use a pay-by-phone bay or car park. 

 Councils, however, have defended them, saying they offer a more convenient method of payment than carrying around cash or fishing for the right change. 

 Jack Cousens, a spokesperson for the AA, said of the findings: "Not only can it be a struggle to find a space but now, when you do find one, you may be required to talk to an automated system to pay the charge - not ideal if you have an appointment or just want to get in and get out quickly. 

 "All providers should make it easier to pay for parking. Not everyone has a smartphone to pay via an app and not everyone is keen to talk to a robot to pay for an hour's stay. For the elderly and low-income drivers, pay-by-phone feels almost discriminatory." 

 There has also been some annoyance that among the locations that accept cash, many had not yet been updated to receive the new £1 coin. 

 Not only do machines that use smartphones to pay often require a lengthy phone call, peaking to an automated service, some even require you locate, download, install and sign up to a mobile app – presumably with the economy of convenience taking the form of multiple parks. 

 However, the first time customers need to do this is can be a very trying, if not altogether off-putting experience. 

 A spokesman for the Local Government Association, which supports use of phone-operated payment systems and speaks on behalf of local authorities said: 

 "As the AA's own research shows, 76% of councils in England have already converted the parking machines they are responsible for to accept the new £1 coin. Others are well on the way towards doing so. 

 "Having a range of options to pay for parking, for residents and visitors, is the best way for councils to serve the needs of their local communities." 

 What do you think about them? Automotive innovation or pain in the boot?