Irish firm ItsMobile has won the contract for Edinburgh’s new mobile parking payments system. It will be the first meter-based wireless parking system in the UK.
ItsMobile is the software firm behind Dublin’s new mPark wireless parking payments system. The new Edinburgh system will be available through parking pay & display machines in the Scottish city centre.
MPark is a new parking payment service that enables motorists to pay electronically for their parking using their mobile phones. MPark will initially be available in the high-tariff area in Edinburgh city centre. The new e-payment system is expected to catch on very quickly and a full rollout will happen during 2003.
In a further development, the Royal Bank of Scotland announced that it will support the new service making it available to the bank’s FastPay customers in conjunction with ItsMobile. As a result, Edinburgh motorists using pay & display machines can bill the cost of parking to their credit cards or to their Royal Bank of Scotland and National Westminster Bank FastPay accounts. In addition, ItsMobile is providing a direct billing service to customers on behalf of City of Edinburgh Council.
To use the new service, motorists call a national number when they arrive at the pay & display machine. Voice prompts ask the user for the machine’s ID number, displayed on the machine, which the motorist then keys into the mobile phone. FastPay customers will also be asked to key in their mobile PIN for added security. An electronic instruction is then sent to the parking meter, activating it with a personalised greeting. The machine prints out the parking ticket, which is then displayed in the car in the usual manner as proof of payment for on-street parking. A record of the parking costs will then appear on the customer’s next credit card statement or real-time on their FastPay account, helping drivers to keep track of their parking expenditure.
“This is a major innovation for motorists, giving a convenient and easy way to pay for parking. The flexibility of electronic payment should prove popular, and we are pleased to be able to make a positive contribution to improving the service we offer to residents and visitors to the city,” said Keith Rimmer, head of transport at City of Edinburgh Council.
By Dick O’Brien