Car park pay and display machines are more than mere vending devices and can function in a way that makes parking facilities more convenient to use while generating income.
Pay and display systems are now widely used in Ireland and this is basically down to the fact that they offer a huge amount of flexibility for parking operators. The number of available functions and the ways they can be used means that car park owners can offer their customers a number of different tariffs, parking options and additional benefits. People parking could face higher prices at peak times, for example, while free (but limited) parking is offered when the facility is not so busy. It just depends on the way you want to set the system up.
Unlike parking facilities which control access points and exits with barriers, there are virtually no health and safety concerns to factor in. Car park operators don’t need to plan for people becoming stuck in the event of a system fault – they can simply drive away. What’s more, the responsibility for parking, exiting and ensuring proper payment has been made is placed on the customer, not the parking operator. For this reason alone, many councils and private car parking operators prefer them. Let’s take a closer look at how much functionality is packed into modern pay and display machines these days…
Pay and Display Machine Functions
Handling transactions is an important function of any pay and display machine. As the name implies, taking payments is crucial. In the modern world, this means being able to handle a variety of payment types. Cash remains one of the most popular payment methods for members of the public, but only a high-quality system can accept both coins and notes.
In addition, pre-payment cards are also used by some pay and display machines whereby users load up credit onto a card which they then swipe in the machine. Another payment system involves the use of debit and credit cards and this requires the machine to be connected to a telephone or computer connection so that PIN numbers and available credit can be verified before a ticket is issued. Finally, some pay and display machine can connect to mobile technology and issue tickets to customers who have downloaded apps that allow them to make verified payments over the internet.
Of course, confirming a payment is legal is another crucial function of a pay and display machine. With card transactions, this is done via a keypad where users enter their personal details. When it comes to cash payments, weighing coinage and examining notes is essential to ensure that counterfeit money is not passed through the system. When cash is used, change will be required. As such, a vandal resistant enclosure is required to prevent the machine being broken into whilst still allowing customers to receive their change.
A number of pay and display systems restrict the use of tickets that are designed to be issued to one customer only. This means they will have a terminal in which customers need to enter their license plate. As a result, the incidences of drivers passing partly used tickets to one another is diminished and revenues go up. In addition, modern clear displays make it easier for customers to navigate the various payment methods and operational instructions. Indeed, multi-language platforms are now commonplace and not just used in places like airport car parks.
Pay and Display Machine Uses
The primary use of a pay and display machine is to print a ticket which provides a window of parking for a customer. This means that drivers judge how much time they will need and pay accordingly, rather than paying on exit. This is helpful for busy car parks because it encourages customers not to overstay, thereby freeing up more parking bays for new customers. Places like shopping centres find them invaluable for increasing the footfall of customers in a busy period.
Another advantage of using a pay and display system to control parking is that no manned staffing is required. This means that only occasional checks of the car park are needed. So long as drivers don’t know when ticket checks will be made, most will comply with parking regulations. This use alone is a big cost reducer.
Mixed use car parks also benefit from pay and display machines. In such situations, some drivers may have to pay while others, for example, employees of a nearby building, may be issued with a code or a pre-paid card which means they can obtain a ticket without putting in any coins. Pay and display is, after all, the most flexible approach to parking that you can take.