Searching for change, getting caught up and exceeding parking time, being in a rush and forgetting to pay - the end result of all of these scenarios can be a parking ticket for the unlucky person involved, but a change is in the wind.
Later this year, these scenarios will become a distant memory for many Whangarei drivers, when Council introduces mPark, a system that will allow customers to pay for their parking by mobile phone.
Customers will register online to create an account and deposit money into it, to then be used to pay for their parking. More than one car can be registered to an account.
On arriving at a parking spot, the driver can open the link on their phone and select the zone they are in, how long they want to stay, the vehicle they are parking and select 'start parking'.
The system uses no tickets, it simply allocates the parking to the car number plate that parking wardens can enter into their computers to check.
Another benefit of the system is that people will be able to top up from anywhere, giving much more flexibility if extra time is needed to finish a coffee or to get to that last shop on the list. An email will be sent alerting the customer when the time selected is about to expire and providing the option to top up.
Whangarei District Council Roading Engineer Greg Monteith said Council decided to develop its own system in conjunction with a local software company.
"The company approached us with the idea of developing this system. Rather than using others available on the market, we decided developing a new system would ensure the customer paid no more than someone using the pay and display machines, would give us greater control and allow us to develop a system specifically for the needs of Whangarei. It also means we can evolve the system as needs be and in response to customer feed back."
Mr Monteith said other systems on the market today are based on a credit card payment which means a minimum charge of 30 cents each transaction and a further charge by the system's provider.
"We believed that added too high a proportion to our existing charges which range between 40c an hour and $2.50. Our system is designed so that people who opt to use it will pay the same as people who use coins.
"Development is currently underway and we expect to roll out the system early September. To stay up to date on developments and make sure you do not miss out on the roll out date you can register your interest at mpark.co.nz where we will keep you up to date on progress and alert you when accounts can be set up and the system used."
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