Mobile payment technology for city parking developed in Dublin is now being used by 150,000 car owners in Ireland, the US, the UK, Scandinavia and Australia, Siliconrepublic.com has learned.
“We are now the largest mobile parking solution provider in the world,” said Donal McGuinness, head of the parking technology division at Payzone, formerly Alphyra. McGuinness headed up a company called ItsMobile, which was acquired by Alphra in 2004 for an undisclosed sum.
Payzone is currently in the middle of a bitter litigation battle for control of the company, with chief executive John Nagle and chief financial officer John Williamson on one side and chairman Bob Thian and the board on the other.
Payzone and Alphyra merged only last September as part of a €800m deal.
Despite the boardroom and courtroom battles, McGuinness told Siliconrepublic.com its still full steam ahead for the parking division, which allows vehicle owners to pay for city parking via their mobile phones.
The company’s technology is currently live in Dublin, Sligo, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newbury, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, Las Vegas, Pasadena Newport Beach in California and Sydney, Australia.
In recent months, Payzone won the contract with the National Roads Authority to implement the technology behind barrier-free tolling on the M50, which will commence in August with the much sought-after removal of the notorious toll station on the M50.
McGuinness says the vision is to integrate mobile parking payment services with barrier-free tolling.
“The NRA will place cameras all along the motorway that will have license-plate-recognition technology. The idea is that if you don’t have an electronic tag and drive onto the motorway you will have until 8pm the following evening to pay for use of the motorway, whether by going into a Payzone-affiliated shop, by interactive voice response, by mobile phone or on the web.”
McGuinness said that Payzone intends to be active in large cities where traffic congestion is rife, parking is expensive and authorities are vigilant about enforcing parking restrictions.
“We’re positioning this as a useful application where people can pay for road tolling and parking and if fined or clamped can choose the option of paying in cash rather than credit card if they so wish.”
McGuinness said that the 150,000 users represent a 200pc growth in 2007 alone. “We’ve witnessed exponential growth in Edinburgh in particular, with 1,300 new users per month in the past year alone. In the city centre we estimate that 40pc of people paying for parking are doing so via their mobile phones.”
By John Kennedy