After the dissatisfaction among many Zottegem residents, traders (read more via this link) and also opposition parties Vooruit (read more via this link) and Green (read more via this link) after the cash points in the city center were taken into use, alderman Brecht Cassiman (N-VA) contacted the operator Batopin (founded by a few banks) for a ‘constructive’ discussion. That led to varying degrees of success. For example, it appears that Batopin does not want to invest in village centres.
“I would like to provide the following information after the consultation”, said alderman Brecht Cassiman
- Cash Points are currently being rolled out in 180 cities and municipalities, five of which are experiencing problems, including the Cash Point Zavel in Zottegem.
- After raising the general cleanliness in Cashpoint Zavel, the cleaning frequency will be doubled from 1 x to 2 x per week from this week. Unfortunately, a rubbish bin cannot be provided due to safety risks (installation of explosives) and other unwanted rubbish (cans, etc.) is also wanted to be avoided.
- Leaving tickets lying around: this will be avoided by making people more consciously choose a ticket: from next Thursday when withdrawing money (80% of transactions), “without a ticket” will become the standard. You can still explicitly opt for a ticket.
- It was emphasized to me that the cash points are as well secured as the banks, with visible and invisible camera surveillance.
- Cash Point Zavel will be fitted with discretion panels (partitions) between the machines in January.
- The technical problems that prevented some vending machines from working in recent weeks should be resolved by the end of this week.
- Smaller banknotes will be available soon: 10 euro notes (by 15 December at the latest) and possibly also 5 euro notes by spring 2023.
- The city council insists on placing a 4th machine in Cashpoint Zavel: this is technically and spatially possible, and is being considered by the operator. We will continue to insist on this given the long queues at the busier times in recent weeks.
- Despite our explicit request to provide additional Cash Points in Sint-Maria-Oudenhove or Velzeke, for example, Batopin points out that the number of transactions has halved in ten years’ time, and that people on Zottegem territory only want to invest in the urban core, and no longer in the village centers. We deeply regret this view.
“We will continue to monitor this, and will continue to defend the interests of our residents when it comes to basic services,” according to Cassiman.