Council to launch mobile parking ticket system


14 Jan 2003

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The days of fumbling in your pocket for a stray 50 cent piece or asking a stranger for change for the parking meter may be gone after the introduction of a new wireless parking payment system in Dublin City centre tomorrow.

The mobile parking payment service (MPP) – named mPark – will allow Dublin motorists to pay for parking using their mobile phones.

The new system has been developed by ItsMobile on behalf of Dublin City Council.

Using the new system, instead of putting cash into the Pay and Display machine, motorists can phone up the mPark service number, which will be published on the machines and they will be answered by an automated interactive voice response (IVR) system.

If motorists are not registered, they will be forwarded to an operator who can register them.

The IVR then asks for the number of the Pay and Display machine they are using and motorists then enter this number.

After that the motorists are told to hang up and the LCD on the meter displays a personalised greeting.

The motorist then presses the new blue button to increase the amount of parking time he/she wants to buy and finally presses the green button which dispenses the ticket.

The cost of the parking will be billed to the customer’s registered payment option.

The system is built on ItsMobile’s Emporia M-Commerce Server, a high volume mobile transaction platform.

The MPP system is the result of two years of design and development for ItsMobile, which worked closely with partner SchlumbergerSema to develop a wireless protocol for communicating with the Pay and Display machines and with Vodafone, O2 and AIB to integrate with their billing systems.

MPark is the first system of its kind in Ireland and the first city-wide launch in the world of an MPP system that uses pre-existing on-street equipment.

The system has been piloted in the city for the past six months.

The service will be launched in the high tariff zone in Dublin, which encompasses 160 Pay and Display machines running from Merrion Square to Parnell Square. The Council is expected to consider rolling out the service to all machines in the city before the year is out.

Speaking to siliconrepublic.com, James Grimes of ItsMobile said the company had approached Dublin City Council two years ago at a time when the Council was looking for cashless ways to use parking meters.

“Variations on the system have been developed over the past few years and there were a number of ideas thrown around at the time including the use of a smartcard or credit card readers on the Pay and Display machines,” he said.

“But smartcards have never really caught on here and credit cards are open to fraud,” added Grimes.

“The principal attraction of the system being launched tomorrow is that it uses existing street machines, rather than requiring the costly building of dedicated ones,” he continued.

“Feedback from the pilot has been very positive and we found that of the people who use it there is over 90pc re-use on the system. As far as the level of transactions go, we’d be looking to take 10pc of all parking transactions in the year,” he said.

At present the company is planning to extend the system to other cities both in Ireland and around Europe.

There are three different ways you can pay for the new service. Customers can either register for the news service at www.mPark. ie, where you can opt to pay by credit card. Alternatively you can use M-Pay, which is Vodafone’s m-wallet platform allowing Vodafone customers to bill parking to their mobile phone or you can pay via your O2 mobile phone bill.

There is no fee to register and customers are charged the price of a local call to make the payment.

The new service will be launched by Dublin City Lord Mayor Dermot Lacey, TD. Owen Keegan, Dublin City Director of Traffic, will also attend.

By Suzanne Byrne