Mobile Parking

(Via Techdirt:) has a detailed article about paying for car parking with your mobile:

“The system is based around an RFID transponder card that is displayed permanently in the car like a permit. It also has visible barcode, to allow for parking services using a barcode reader, but for preference an RFID tag reader reads the card. The barcode is almost like the legacy fallback of raised letters and digits on credit card for zip-zap machines. The identity on barcode and tag is tied to the car registration and the driver’s mobile phone number.
When calls are made from the mobile phone, the parking period is initiated, and calls only take up to 30 seconds. The bill is paid by the method that was set up when the transponder card was first applied for. This can be credit/debit card or direct debit with a weekly or monthly itemised invoice, which can be viewed online. Sadly, there is no way to currently pay off the phone bill, but that could be a problem if a driver parks, heads for a train and then has insufficient funds on a pre-paid phone card. Not so much ‘cardholder not present’ as ‘driver not present’.
The parking period is terminated by further phone call. If the user forgets to terminate the parking, the Parkmobile system usually defaults to the end of the parking period, just like what would happen in a pay and display car park and lost the ticket. However, for those paying per day at railway stations, the system keeps charging the day rate until terminated. This is good for extended or unanticipated stays, but costs could build for forgetful drivers.
As an optional service, the user can be sent a text message every two hours of parking. At 20p per message, this is likely to depend on parking charges and the cost of forgetfulness, but it’s an indication of where the service might head.
Car park attendants read the transponder card using a handheld wireless device, which validates the parking using a GPRS link to a central database, and the attendant knows there and then whether to issue a ticket. This type of system should reduce the prospect of errors, and reduce the costs and time associated with checking tickets, so it’s easy to see why those responsible for managing parking would be interested in the system.”

Now this sounds like a really good system – low tech for starters (just a call + RFID tag), so it should be quite easy to implement. A more high tech solution could use a WAP page for your tag ID where you could check on remaining parking time and even chose to pay for another hour from a remote location – we all know about visits to the doctor where the waiting took longer than expected.

The real high-end solution could send you the ticket for parking in illegal zones to the same account ;)


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