Parking in the UK just got a little easier for some commuters. In a few spots a person can now park their car, run out to catch a train, then make one 30 second phone call and pay for that parking spot. It’s the new high tech parking system offered by Parkmobile.
Parkmobile already has had success with the local government and plans to roll it out on a larger scale shortly. So far they are functional at just two medium sized UK stations. Both stations are very busy at half-hourly intervals with regular and ad hoc passengers.
The system is based around an RFID-transponder card that is displayed permanently in the car like a permit. It has a visible barcode that parking attendants can use to determine who the car is registered to and if they are authorized to park where they are. Paying for the service is done using the customer’s mobile phone for a 30 second phone call. They call to initiate the parking timer and then call once they have left the parking lot. Times are recorded and the customer is billed according to how they wanted to be bill upon sign up.
For those of us who may forget to call and terminate the parking lot visit, there is an optional service that will text message you a reminder every 2 hours. Also, if you happen to stay over night or for an extended period, you can opt to pay monthly, weekly or even daily.
Parking attendants walk check periodically to see if an unauthorized visitors are taking up parking spots by using the barcode on the displayed permit which communicates via a GPRS link to a central database.
Even though this is still in its testing phase, don’t be surprised if you see more of these in other locations soon.