I received a number of comments on my post yesterday about Pay by Cell. I thought I would bring them out of the ‘comments’ section and into the light of day. JVH
Here in the UK phone parking started over 12 years ago and although we now have many thousands of locations after all this time, these systems are offered by companies not able or willing to provide and share a common central data bank to enable consumers to have one app or one common phone number and this continue to hold back their expansion.
To make matters worst, we also have the situation that consumers not only having to pay for the phone call, but much worse, many of these phone parking providers just add a service charge on top of the parking to the consumer when the best business model would be to provide the service free and preferably at a lower charge per hour reflecting the lower cost to the operator. As a result, in many UK locations the phone parking penetration has stalled at between 10 and 20% and in theory this should not be the case.
My prediction is that unless things change dramatically in the future and the service is provided on one account and number and at a lower cost than paying the machine, this will remain just one more option for some users for the foreseeable future. I am confident other type of technology mounted to vehicles will materialize in due course were people don’t have to phone to book and pay, a system that will allow you pre-book the most suitable parking to your destination, will detect when you arrive and depart and will automatically debit the payment from your account. I just hope when these user friendly systems arrive, they would have learn the lesson to make them simple and cheaper for users.
Not really much to ask?
It may be that the eventual answer is that apps that enable you to pay for one thing (parking) will go the way of the dinosaurs. If Apple Pay or Google Wallet had a “pay for parking” method and cities adopted it, we would be able to buy lunch, pay for parking and then drinks in the next city over, all from one app on our phones. The more we can pay for, parking transit, lunch, etc. with one app, the higher the chances are for wide adoption.
I recall several years ago at a company management retreat telling the team that cash-less parking would be the norm very soon. Customers would either pay with a credit card or by phone. Operationally, this is the best method as each transaction has a paper-trail. Cash shrinkage is a non-issue as there is no cash to handle. Labor savings are an added bonus.
The argument about a customer not having a phone or card was easily handled. Those people can park with the “other guys”, as there are too few customers to worry about in that position.
Of course, things move at a glacial pace in our world, but it appears that we are finally reaching the tipping point.
Remember, it wasn’t so long ago that operators would accept credit cards…