MORE and more shoppers in Worcester are using their mobile phones to pay for parking - with a 99 per cent surge since 2011.

The RingGo system, which allows visitors to pay to use city centre car parks, was used 89,000 times during 2013.

The record high has been hailed by a body representing retailers in Worcester, which says the figures are evidence the investment was worth it.

RingGo allows people to use a debit or credit card to pay for parking by ringing up a hotline wherever they are.

Each council car park has a specific code which allows the driver to stay in Worcester for as long as they want and top their stay up.

When it launched in 2011 it was used just over 44,000 times, but has since exploded in popularity.

The creation of RingGo followed years of gripes from visitors that they wanted more flexible ways to pay for parking.

Adrian Field, from Worcester Business Improvement District, which represents more than 550 city shops, said: "We are delighted with the fact that RingGo has been used over 204,000 times by customers paying for their parking by phone in the last three years.

"Our aim is to make it easier and quicker for people to park and also to allow them to stay as long as they want in the city centre if they haven’t quite finished shopping, meeting up with friends or completed a meeting in an office.

"People are embracing technology to make their lives easier like never before and the increased use of the RingGo app has been clearly evident with good feedback from those who use it."

The figures come at a time when parking prices were frozen by Worcester City Council, and then cut last January.

The authority is planning to rise certain prices in April, with four-hour stays at selected sites going from £5 to £6 and the half-an-hour 40p tariff being scrapped.

The £1 charge from 7pm is also due to come to an end, but all-day parking at St Martin's Gate will remain £3.60.

The changes are subject to a vote from city politicians next month.