Palmerston North has become home to what may be the world’s most high-tech carpark, where the amount drivers pay depends on how many spaces are available.Even better if you could launch the app while still driving to see whether it's worth aiming for that lot or heading elsewhere.
The 33-space carpark in the city’s Church Street has been kitted out with solar-powered sensors by local parking technology firm Frogparking that can tell which parks are occupied. Drivers pay for parking through their smartphone.
Frogparking has been providing ticketless parking systems to Palmerston North for a few years, but director Don Sandbrook said the new system was its most advanced yet, with cheaper parking if there were lots of spaces available and higher prices if they were nearly all taken. The tariff ranges from 50 cents to $2 an hour.
Regular patrons can use a GPS-enabled windscreen tag that will automatically bill their credit card, but there is no cash option.
Sandbrook said there was plenty of on-street parking nearby for “little old ladies” who found the technology complicated. “If you don’t have a smartphone, we don’t want you to park in the carpark.”
Drivers pay only for the time they are parked and local retailers can send codes to customers’ smartphones that entitle them to have their parking fees refunded if they take up shopping offers.The comments section is predictably full of folks who hate the use of prices to ration scarce resources. Those raging against that parking prices could vary by up to $1.50 per hour should be grateful for the lack of adversity in their lives allowing them to feel aggrieved by so little.
A local cafe, Cafe Moxies, has been the first to do that, but three other retailers are offering parkers in-store discounts.
Many thanks to reader Eli Gray-Stuart for the pointer.