When a car or any other vehicle parks in your car park without authorisation it is extremely annoying. Not only is the unauthorised driver taking up a space that ought to be reserved for someone appropriate, but they are also potentially taking the place that a paying customer would occupy. In short, this means unauthorised parking can affect your car parking facility’s income generation.
Consequently, controlling car parks so that unauthorised access is not possible is extremely important. Not only will it mean that your parking facility runs more profitably but authorised motorists will be able to find free bays more rapidly, thereby improving customer satisfaction. What can you do to help ensure your car park is only used for properly authorised parking?
The Role of Barrier Gates
If you fit the right car park hardware in your facility, then cases of unapproved parking should fall dramatically. In fact, in many cases, it will become a thing of the past. Barrier gates are an essential tool for preventing unauthorised vehicles from getting into your parking facility in the first place. They literally stop unauthorised parking by denying access to drivers who should not be using your facility.
In a corporate car park, for example, employees can be issued with access codes so that they can get past while people who do not have the code cannot get in. On the other hand, if your car park is open to the public, you can issue tickets to drivers as they enter. With a set of barrier gates installed at the exit of your parking facility, drivers will have to use a pay station before they are allowed to leave. In other words, with this approach, everyone who parks has to authorise themselves before they can leave by paying for the use of your facility.
These days, barrier gates can be installed in any car parking facility, offering plenty of features alongside the provision of parking control, such as:
– Durable aluminium folding arms
– Versatile and Programmable outputs
– LED traffic light for improved flow
– Rubberised profiles that can handle impact
– Vehicle detection systems
– Tough steel housings and foundations
License Plate Recognition Systems
Although barrier gates are an important first step in controlling access to your car park for authorised motorists only, they can be significantly improved if you also install a license plate recognition system. What these systems do is to record the number plate of any vehicle that drives onto your car park as it enters. Such technology is often integrated with modern barrier gates these days so that a crystal clear image of the license plate is taken as the vehicle stops to gain entry.
However, license plate recognition systems can also be installed in car parks where no barriers are being used at all. What they do is to take a digital image of the number plate of cars that enter the facility and to read them. This means that the number plate of any vehicle can be checked against a database of authorised license plates. If the license plate is recognised, then no action needs to follow. However, if it is not, then the car park staff or other authorised personnel can be alerted to the presence of an unauthorised vehicle.
License plate recognition technology is particularly effective in car parks where there is a grace period. For example, retailers’ car parks will often allow 90 minutes of free parking but do not want unauthorised motorists from parking for several hours at a time. With a license plate recognition system, no barrier gates need to be installed so shoppers can still gain direct access to the car park. However, if their license plate has not been recognised on the way out within the given time period, staff will receive automatic notifications to take the appropriate action.
CCTV Improves Security and Unauthorised Parking Control
Some people will abuse car parking facilities and push at the boundaries of what is allowed. Whether you have a former employee who still uses your car park when they no longer have the right to or have a motorist who continually overstays their free grace period in your facility, legal action may be your only option. What this will mean is gathering evidence of such wrongdoing.
Car park CCTV systems are a great way of gathering evidence of unauthorised or unapproved parking. They record clearly defined images of the abuse of car parks and often the identity of the driver as he or she gets out of their car. Of course, CCTV means being able to monitor such abuse in real-time as well as to make recordings. This also means that other actions can follow, such as preventing departure from the car park by lowering exit barriers. With internet protocol CCTV and other car park hardware, many of the appropriate countermeasures can be taken remotely, saving both time and money. Even better, installing a CCTV system in your car park will make authorised motorists feel safer and more secure.
Why Car Clamping Is Not an Option
Finally, it is worth mentioning wheel clamps for a moment. Although local authorities and other statutory bodies can use wheel clamps to deal with unauthorised vehicles in their car parks, this is not an option for privately run parking facilities. According to the DVLA, it would be illegal to clamp a car, van or motorcycle that has parked in your car park without authorisation. You can issue a fine but without a clamp to help it to be enforced, there is very little most private car park managers can do to ensure such penalties are paid.
In short, fines only tend to work as warnings. They will not help you to deal with the problem of unauthorised people parking in your car park, especially if word spreads that penalty notices are largely unenforceable. As a result, it is much better to invest in the sort of parking control measures that help to prevent abuse in the first place, namely barriers, number plate recognition technology and CCTV systems.