On-street and off-street parking is vital in every town or city to ease transportation. Apart from parking restrictions, a modern car parking system should have diverse payment options. In the past, people had to carry around loose change to pay for parking and exceeding the time limit attracted additional charges.
With the advancement in technology, parking has witnessed tremendous improvement. Nowadays, car parks have incorporated automatic car parking solutions to improve customer experience. You do not have to waste a few minutes checking if there is parking space when you can book for a spot on your way. The modern car parking system keeps inventory of the available spaces before giving parking tickets.
Car parks are also moving away from traditional payment methods and embracing digital and electronic payment options. With smart parking, you can pay through your phone, online apps, contactless payments (Visa and MasterCard), and on an invoice basis. However, despite all these, there are numerous myths surrounding payment for parking.
Let’s take a look at the misconceptions about payment for parking that should be dispelled.
Cash Payment Is Still the Best Payment Method
In the past, car parks managed parking with meters that accepted only coins. Over the years, the parking meters evolved and could take both coins and paper money. Nowadays, you can still pay with cash, but the integration of various payment methods is increasing flexibility. While some countries like Germany heavily rely on cash, most residents in the UK are switching to Contactless payment for parking.
When setting up a car park, study the habits of your potential customers to avoid jumping to cashless or cash payment. Besides, cash payment can be limiting. A customer has to determine in advance the time they will be away. That means they may pay for the time they do not need or exceed the time limit.
Mobile Payment Is a Short-Term Trend
The current car parking system has versatile payment solutions, which means mobile payment is gaining traction among users. Customers are using their phones to locate a car park, book space, and pay. Digital wallets like Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay provide convenience when making payment and reduce the need for a ticket. Many parking operators have apps for their car parks, and consumers can use their e-wallets to make transactions and find essential information. On-street parking operations prefer mobile payments via SMS or e-commerce payments completed online.
Apart from introducing automated parking solutions, operators should keep in mind the flexibility offered by mobile payment. Since smartphones are here to stay, car parks can take advantage of them to increase efficiency.
Contactless Payment Is Not Gaining Traction
Many parking operators are abandoning the traditional pay and display models and embracing electronic Contactless payment for parking systems. With contactless methods, car park patrons can enjoy automated parking, and the transactions are quick and convenient. Users can hold a contactless card near the payment terminal to pay for parking. Smartphones and NFC-enabled devices are also promoting the use of contactless payments. The move by MasterCard and Visa to ensure payment terminals allow contactless transactions is boosting the popularity of the cards. The tap-and-go payment is the new trend due to the enormous demand. Therefore, parking operators should embrace it as a parking location.
You Must Present a Parking Receipt at the Exit
Traditional metered systems provided a ticket when a customer paid for parking space. A customer had to display the ticket on the car before leaving. The parking attendant would also check the receipt during exit to ensure the customer did not exceed their time limit. Nowadays, intelligent car park systems monitor the ticketing and payment without issuing a paper receipt. For instance, when a customer pays via contactless payment, they can receive a receipt via email or through their mobile apps. Therefore, customers do not feel obliged to get a paper receipt. If you break the parking regulations, a parking attendant will hand you a ticket for the fine. However, if you leave the parking lot, they will send the fine via post or digitally.
Parking Technology Will Stagnate
The transport industry is changing at an alarming rate. The soaring popularity of electric vehicles is a game-changer in mobility. Parking, being a key player, is expected to adjust to the upcoming trends. For instance, electric cars are increasing the demand for charging stations in the car parks. The registration of vehicles on a cloud-based account also changes the dynamic of handling records. With the constant advancements in parking technology, payment will also advance to increase convenience and make transactions seamless. Parking operators should not be complacent with existing technology. They should stay abreast of the emerging trends and ensure they are up-to-date with parking technology.
Free Parking on Sundays and During Holidays
In the past, the local authorities would offer free parking to their residents on Sundays and during national holidays. People could park anywhere without getting a ticket. While some towns still provide free parking on holidays, there are restrictions to where you can park the car. The misconception of free parking is attracting fines for many residents due to parking at the wrong location. Besides, several cities in the UK have introduced parking fees on Sundays for both off-street and on-street parking. People should ascertain the parking restrictions before leaving their car. Otherwise, they will find a fine ticket slapped on their windscreen.
10-Minute Parking Grace Period Does Not Exist
When you book a parking slot for an hour, and you stay longer than you anticipated, you have to rush to avoid the extra charges. Some car parks will give you a fine when the ticket expires. However, many people forget that the law allows a 10-minute grace period before the parking attendant fines the vehicle owner. The grace period applies to private car parks and council-owned parking spaces.
Payment for parking is becoming convenient and customer-centric. If people abandon the myths on parking, they will see the advantages brought by technological advancement in the transport industry.