RUSHMOOR'S 73 car park ticket machines will soon be on their way to the scrap heap.

The machines, which are well past their "sell by" date, are to be replaced by those with smart card technology at a cost of £150,000.

The council's five-week replacement programme started in Aldershot's High Street car park on Tuesday.

Work at all six of the town's car parks should be completed by the end of next week, and then it will be Farnborough's turn.

The installation of new "smart card" machines means all change for the 12,000 motorists who use the council's Easypark cards.

They will need to convert the unused value on their card to the new smartcard.

The final time for doing this in Aldershot is today (Thursday), between 10am and 3pm, at the council cash office in Princes Gardens.

After today the transfer can be carried out at the council offices at Farnborough.

Mike Bamber, council parking manager, said the present car park machines were worn out.

"They've started causing us a lot of problems," he said. "We also have difficulty finding a printer to produce the Easypark cards."

He added that, in time, the new smart cards would possibly have additional uses.

"They could be programmed to pay for such things as library fines and leisure facilities," said Mr Bamber.

The creation of a community card, he added, would be considered by the council after it had canvassed the views of the public.