With regards to payment options, we know that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to finding the one that’s right for your car park. The chosen options can be dependent on the sector, size of the facility and any challenges they might be facing at that moment in time.
The various car parking payment options offer flexibility and functionality that meets the demands and needs of car park owners/site managers and their customers, making payment easier and more fluid than methods they might have previously used. Here, we’ll go through the variety of car parking payment options that are available, along with which sectors they’re best suited to.
These options are what we are most familiar with. Whilst this is a benefit for many, there are newer solutions which are improving upon pay-on-foot’s shortcomings.
1. Pay and Display parking machines
The classic method that most motorists will be used to, Pay and Display machines offer a straightforward if slightly restricted service. Less intuitive than other options, Pay and Display car parks require visitors to physically collect their one-use parking permit, choosing their estimated length of stay.
Whilst they are widely used in car parks, and are easily understood by most customers, they do have their limitations. Their one-size-fits-all, single tariff structure (can cope with day/evening/weekend), could lead to pricing struggles. The person setting the tariff must select a price-point which won’t discourage usage, whilst also maximising profitability.
Furthermore, physical tickets can simply feel like a hassle. From the unsightly residue that sticky tickets can leave on the windscreen to a glove compartment full of discarded paper – the physical receipts of pay-and-display parking are unwelcome in most scenarios, especially for those of us who take pride in our cars.
However, they are simple and cost-effective, generating revenue from a range of parking areas in prime locations across the country. They’re also reliable in all kinds of weather, and their 24/7 usage helps to reduce man hours too.
Suitable for: Generally suited to both on- and off-street parking purposes, where people won’t have pre-registered or booked a space – making them a good solution for ad-hoc visitors.
2. ANPR-linked Barrier solutions
Although many car park managers are looking to move away from barriers wherever possible, ANPR-linked options provide some of the convenience of modern car park solutions.
If you’re used to a barrier solution, then linking with ANPR could be the next logical step – providing a more efficient and convenient experience for your visitors.
By integrating your barrier with ANPR, motorist simply pay before leaving either on-site or in-store and as their car approaches the barrier, cameras recognise registration numbers and match to payments made. The barrier then raises automatically, removing the need for a member of staff to press a button manually or the driver having to wait whilst everyone inserts a ticket and waits for the arm to rise.
ANPR-linked barriers remove the risk of visitors overstaying (or under-staying), ensuring they only pay for the time they have spent in the car park as payment is calculated automatically as cameras log entry/exit times. As this solution ensures that cars are authorised by their registration number, it also removes the risk of system abuse (namely, exiting visitors gifting newcomers their tickets).
Suitable for: Sites which need to regulate throughput, such as multi-storey car parks.
3. ANPR-linked payment kiosks
The easiest pay-on-foot solution for motorists, these next generation kiosks are integrated with powerful camera technology which captures the vehicle registration number on entry and then matches it to payments made on site. This solution negates the need for physical tickets or the need for barriers as the cameras simply log payments with duration and user details.
The technology enables users to park up and then pay only when they wish to leave – removing the risk of over-paying and being out of pocket, or receiving a Penalty Charge Notice, unless they leave without making payment.
At ParkingEye, our advanced kiosks can provide even greater support for pay anytime systems – providing management with greater flexibility. They allow for multiple tariffs to be set up, charging users at different rates depending on their level of authorisation or the time/date of their stay. This is perfect for locations which are subjected to seasonality or sharp peaks and troughs.
This self-enforcing system is equally beneficial for car park owners, as it removes the need for car park attendants to check tickets and dispense fines. The unmanned usage also means you’ll save on staffing overheads as a result.
Suitable for: There are many establishments that currently use pay on foot solutions because of their reliability and effectiveness. These include businesses and amenities such as:
- Football stadia
- Shopping centres
- Schools and universities
Cashless payment solutions
As we move closer to becoming a cashless society, there are a number of options which do not require physical payment or ticketing of any kind. These advances in technology open up a range of opportunities for car park managers to streamline their operations while also enhancing the customer experience. Here are three of the most prominent cashless payment solutions.
Perfect for parking in busy locations, where spaces are at a premium, pre-book/pre-pay services allow drivers to find convenient spaces online before arriving on site. Without the need to circle car parks for lengthy stretches, drivers can simply find their pre-booked space and park-up quickly and efficiently without worrying about payment upon arrival.
The system uses ANPR to calculate occupancy levels to ensure sites aren’t oversubscribed. This is space which is free and non-monetised which the landowner probably isn’t aware of but can be advertised to motorists looking for spaces nearby.
Glyde Spaces utilises the technology to provide short- and long-term parking permits on private land – reserving spaces for the exact times drivers require them. This takes the headache out of finding a parking space – hugely significant when you consider that 29% of motorists have abandoned journeys due to a lack of available parking.
A further knock-on effect of this is a reduction in city centre congestion (so often the area most affected by a lack of parking availability). With fewer cars looking for spaces, there will be more room for other cars to navigate the road.
It also opens up private parking spaces to the public when they are not required by their usual tenants. For example, the car park adjoined to offices used from Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm, can then be monetised outside of these core working hours. This is an inexpensive and simple way to secure greater profitability for your business with some businesses generating thousands of pounds in margin-rich revenue each month which they didn’t even realise they had.
It even allows motorists to make multiple payments to cover their stay, so if they pay for two hours initially, and then decide to stay for three, they’ll be able to do so at the click of a button.
Suitable for: With the flexibility of use and simple installation, pre-book/pre-pay systems are suitable for a wide range of sites including:
- Residential areas
- Shopping centres
- Event centres
2. Frictionless parking payment solutions
Now available at ParkingEye managed sites, good2go’s frictionless parking payment solutions are fully automated secure payment systems that use Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR). After customers complete the one-time sign-up process online or by mobile phone, they’re then able to enter and exit any good2go car park, leaving the ANPR cameras to calculate the amount owed.
The solution offers users a number of payment options. For regular parkers, they can upload their card details, and payment is automatically deducted. Alternatively, for those who use such parking solutions on a more ad-hoc basis, they can simply top-up their account as required.
After this, subscribers receive confirmation of parking stays and any payments made. Users can manage their account simply online where they can review transaction history, account details, add more vehicles and download statements.
Once people know about your site after their first visit, Good2Go can hugely increase subsequent visits, on average by up to 15%, and drive brand loyalty as users simply drive in/out seamlessly without the hassle of finding on-site machines or making physical payment.
Suitable for: The benefits of frictionless parking payment solutions mean they’re great for the following facilities:
- Restaurants and cafés
- Tourism sites
Although fewer and fewer of us are carrying cash, we’re almost never without our mobile phones – which makes PayByPhone such a useful system to have in place. Users simply find a space, and then, using the unique location number for that specific car park (usually found on a nearby kiosk or sign), pay using the app, website or over the phone.
Similar to good2go, one of the best features of PayByPhone is the ability to extend a stay direct from a phone. This means users don’t have to traipse back to their car to renew their parking if their stay has lasted longer than they anticipated. The added flexibility makes it great for city centre parking – in case users fancy a bite to eat after an afternoon of shopping.
Suitable for: As mentioned above, PayByPhone is perfect for:
- City centre parking
A final consideration – car park promotions
Demonstrating perfectly that a strategic car park solution can become a major part of your business plan, car park promotions can help visitors save money and secure repeat custom. By incentivising visits, you may be able to secure greater revenue from your parking bays, and provide better support for local businesses.
Approach local businesses to secure a partnership, offering visitors who use your car park access to promotional deals, using their paid parking. Whether this is printed on the physical ticket receipt or provided electronically for pre-pay solutions, promotional parking can benefit everyone.
Modern kiosks can be equipped with barcode scanners for parking concessions or redeeming discounts/offers in-store – so it’s super easy for visitors to get more from their parking experience.
Looking to improve your car park management with quality solutions and innovations? Head over to the Parkingeye homepage for plenty more information on optimal car park performance and be sure to get in touch with us today.