A new parking mobile phone application is currently being trialled.
The system uses plastic studs, of about 6cm in diameter, that are fixed to the tarmac to identify when the space is free or has a vehicle present.
Users can use a mobile phone application to locate a free space and then to pay for the parking in increments of 1 minutes.
The current system requires a driver to find a parking space themselves and pay using a kerb-side parking machine using cash or card (with pin or contactless payment)
The new system is currently is in an 18-month trial with Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council each putting £45,000 to the scheme and AppyParking/Visa have contributed £275,000 through Visa’s Innovation Competition Fund.
Let’s just ponder on those figures, that is nearly £1/2 million on a trial – that demonstrates how big a business getting the public to pay for parking really is.
Harrogate Borough Council collect the street parking fee on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council, but operates the off-street parking.
During 2016/17 in Harrogate, on-street parking developed an income of £2.6 million and off-street developed £3.5 million. Overall income has increased from £5.8 million in 2014/15 to £6.4 million in 2016/17, meaning more income from parking has been developed, but perhaps not as much as many perceive.
- Shoppers don’t need to rush back to their car to put on a new ticket or leave, encouraging people to stay longer
- Billed by the minute, meaning that you have a truer pay-per-use eg you don’t pay for an hour if you have only used a few minutes of it
- Reduces circling around the town centre to find a space, less vehicles on the road, reduction in emissions
- As most trips are with a single occupant, it encourages use of a mobile phone while driving
- Encourages use of street parking rather than multi-storey spaces – that means more money to NYCC rather than HBC
- Gives flexibility to change tariffs easily, Councils can easily put prices up
- Studs on roads are a tripping hazard
- You need to have already registered to use the app and have registered a billing card, making it difficult for a new visitor to the town
A spokesperson for AppyParking said:
All phone activity, including the use of a parking app like ours, should be done when it is safe to do so. Users of the app agree to use it safely and in accordance with the law. This is the same for the millions of people using apps like Google Maps or Spotify in their cars.
Thanks to the on-street sensors, our app displays real-time availability of parking spaces and should the user need directions, there is a link that opens commonly used navigation apps like Google Maps or Waze. This should be done at the start of a journey, as you would if you were setting a destination in a sat-nav device. Our app does not provide turn by turn navigation.
Once someone has found a parking space and parked safely, which means the engine is off, they can legally use AppyParking to start their session and pay for parking. They can do this in the car, or stood next to it.
On the question of encouraging mobile use while driving, a Harrogate Borough Council spokesperson said :
If a user wants to use the navigation element of the app they must do so safely and in accordance with the law. Anyone wishing to use just the payment element should do so once they have parked safely with the engine turned off.
When coming to the end of the stay users simply drive away and that will end the parking session.