Australians are gettng the chance to use their mobile phones to authorise a parking spot. European-born Parkmobile - which lets your mobile phone authorise a parking bay and pay the fee without using a meter - starts in Sydney this week after success in Melbourne.
NSW was initially excluded from the concept because of a clause within government legislation that prohibited payments by a mobile phone. NSW Roads minister Duncan Gay, who instigated the change to the legislation, said:
"It was clear to us that there was a need to adapt with the times and allow councils and parking authorities to provide an easier way for residents and businesses to park in their area''. Parkmobile's managing director for Australia, Michael Doherty, says more than 5000 Victorian motorists have signed up to use the system. He says growth is daily and he's expecting a similar response from Sydney.
"Together with the relevant council, we make a number of carbays available on the street or in parking centres,'' he said. "The motorist who's registered with us simply parks in a designated bay, uses the mobile phone's app to confirm the bay and then the payment is deducted direct from the motorist's credit card account.'' Traffic wardens can check the car is legitimately parked by accessing Parkmobile's database through the council-provided hand-held device.
"There's no extra cost to the motorist - even registering with us is free - as our cost is paid for by the council,'' Mr Doherty said. "The benefit to the motorist is quick and easy parking while the council gets easier policing, lower maintenance of meters and control systems in major carparks.'' Mr Doherty said that Parkmobile, which started in the Netherlands in 1999 and expanded to the US in 2008, has future plans for road sensors that detect a car's identity in a car bay.
He said in the future, councils will be able to remove ticketing meters and control gates in major carparks and on streets as more people elect to use Parkmobile's pay-by-phone system.