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Park now, pay later proves popular

AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL
MEDIA RELEASE


14 December 2005


Park now, pay later proves popular

Hunting for spare change for the parking meter will be a thing of the past with the introduction of over 300 new pay and display parking meters that accept payment via credit card and text.

Auckland City is replacing existing pay and display meters across the CBD, Parnell, Newmarket and Grafton with new silver CHS-Global meters over the next three months.

Chairperson of Auckland City's Transport and Urban Linkages Committee, Councillor Richard Simpson, says the rollout of the new machines is in response to a very successful trial of the up-to-the-minute technology in Princes Street earlier this year.

"The results from the Princes Street trial exceed our expectations. The up-take was 6 per cent for Txt-a-Park and 6 per cent for credit card payment. The equipment has also proved to be extremely reliable, with no operational faults reported during the seven months the meters have been in use.

"The feedback has been loud and clear. Aucklanders have told us it is something they want. It's fast and easy and the small things like having a record of parking costs for refunds make a real difference," says Mr Simpson.

The sophisticated new meters are made from corrosion resistant aluminium and run on solar power.

"Parking technology has improved in leaps and bounds in the past five years, allowing us to be more responsive to the changing needs of our customers. We only have to look at the shift in coin usage to understand where we are heading in terms of increased demand for alternative payment options.

"Paying for parking in an international city like Auckland is always going to be a reality. The new pay and display meters is just one of the ways the council is making this reality easier and more efficient," says Mr Simpson.

Vodafone's Sector Manager for Machine to Machine Communication, Hamish Soper, says the service has significant benefits for both the council and the community.

"Ultimately it will provide more choice in payment options to consumers and more flexibility to the council who will be able to manage their infrastructure centrally," says Mr Soper.

"Not only is it easier for the general public to pay for their parking, but the council will now also have the added functionality of being able to monitor and operate the machines remotely."

TXT-a-park is a partnership between Vodafone, CHS and Synergy International and is available to all Vodafone customers, with the parking fee charged to the customer's Vodafone account or debited from their Prepay balance. Telecom customers may be able to use this service in 2006.

Visa, Mastercard and American Express are all accepted credit cards. The parking fee is processed via a GPRS real-time system and is instantly charged to the customer's card.

ENDS

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