Pay and display parking axed for smartphone app

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Fairfax NZ

High parking costs are hitting motorists where it hurts, while private companies and councils are profiting.

Auckland is about to lose its pay-and-display parking machines, which are being replaced by a smartphone app.

Auckland Transport is trialling the “AT Park” app in August before public release in September or October.

Users will be able to enter their credit card details and car registration into the app and pay by tagging on and off for however long they were parked.

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AT’s parking design manager Scott Ebbett said it spelled the end for having to go to a machine, print out a ticket and place it on your dashboard.

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A picture of how the AT Park app will look.

AUCKLAND TRANSPORT

A picture of how the AT Park app will look.

“You can start and stop directly from your phone; you don’t have to guess how long you’re going to be. When you get back to the car, stop your session and you’re done.”

As for parking machines, they would be “thinned out” and then eventually removed altogether over the coming years, he said.

It would depend on how popular the app was as to how long the machines remained in place, while in the meantime all faulty machines would not be replaced.

Councils across the country are working to implement smarter and more efficient parking technology.

WARWICK SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

Councils across the country are working to implement smarter and more efficient parking technology.

Ebbett said the “AT Park” app has been more than a year in the making and had a $300,000 development budget, with more costs likely to be involved in the roll-out.

“We’re confident that the live production trial all going smoothly in August it will be up and running by September or October,” he said.

The app would be immediately available for on-street parking and was due to be compatible with the council’s parking buildings next year.


PETER MEECHAM/stuff.co.nz

Josh Fagan goes hunting for a parking spot in the country’s biggest city.

Pricing would remain the same and on-street parking would still have a free 10-minute grace period.

Ebbett said the app would mean people were far less likely to be given a parking fine, and would benefit by paying for the exact amount of time they used the space.

NATIONAL PARKING INNOVATIONS

Auckland isn’t the only city using technology to improve and simplify the parking process.

Wellington City Council has installed almost 4000 central parks with sensors, attached to an app that lets motorists “pay and walk away”.

The $1.4m development also tips off parking wardens when your time is up.

Wellington City Council transport and urban development chairman Andy Foster said the technology meant pay and display machines would be phased out.

“We’ll get rid of most of them, eventually,” he said.

“But not everybody’s got a smartphone. So I think it’s going to be a transition process. They’re not going to disappear overnight.” 

Hamilton Council is due to roll out a similar innovation in November.

The council’s transport manager Jason Harrison says Hamiltonians will be able to pay for parking with their smartphone, receive reminder messaging if they are running over time, and provide live “heat maps” showing current parking availability.

People will still be able to pay for their parking through traditional methods, but the upgrade will allow the council to take advantage of other technology in the future, such as sensors and automated smartcards for disabled drivers or other users of designated parks.

While New Zealand’s biggest cities are working to implement new parking technology, Palmerston North is celebrating almost six years of ticketless parking.

Frogparking sensors were introduced in Palmerston North in 2010 and have continued to lead the pack on parking tech.

And in 2014, the company introduced a smart carpark, which charges drivers based on the availability of spaces.


 – Stuff


First published at: August 12, 2016 at 05:06AM.
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