25 May 2018
Rotorua parking services will be upgraded to new technology as part of a contract signed by Rotorua Lakes Council with i-Park today [25 May 2018].
i-Park will introduce new technology which will provide a range of convenient ways for people to pay for public parking in Rotorua.
In 2017 the council signalled changes to parking services brought about by an urgent need to modernise obsolete parking equipment and address the imbalance between increased operating costs and declining revenue.
A range of options to deliver a new service was investigated with a preferred choice to partner with an external provider who could fund and implement the infrastructure upgrade and its delivery.
Council received six partner proposals and following robust negotiation, has signed a contract with New Zealand-owned Innovative Parking Solutions Ltd (i-Park) to deliver and implement new parking services.
The contract covers all central city parking, including the parking building, and the full rollout of the new systems is expected to happen around September/October.
A demonstration will be conducted in the Haupapa Street carpark, opposite the library, using the new technology and interface incorporated into the current pay and display machines. This is the technology that is to be rolled out across the city later this year.
During the demonstration, the carpark will continue to operate as a pay and display.
Once the new meters are rolled out, parking in the city will move to a “Pay by Plate” model. Users will be asked to enter their licence plate and how long they wish to park as part of the parking payment process.
Parking wardens will be able to determine if people have paid for their parking by checking the licence plates of vehicles.
Users will also be able to pay for their parking using a smartphone app if they wish. Receipts can be obtained via email which means app users can pay to extend their time, if parking allows, without having to go back to their car.
“The contract with i-Park is a partnership with Council and will make it easier for people to pay for parking and increase the efficiency of enforcement,” Acting Operations Group Manager Henry Weston says.
“i-Park is a specialist company within the traffic industry and its sophisticated technology gives everyone more ways to conveniently pay for parking. The terms of the contract keep Council in control of parking policy and in receipt of revenue, without the outlay of infrastructural cost, which is expected to be about $2 million, to replace our outdated meters and other parking equipment.
“Overall we expect the contract to save Council about $500,000 per year, based on current costs.”
i-Park General Manager Mike Kelly says the company is pleased to be partnering with Rotorua Lakes Council to help modernise Rotorua city’s parking systems.
“Technology and innovation are inherent in our businesses and we specialise in intelligent traffic management systems and services. Our terminals are state of the art, offering multiple options and touch screen capability,” he says.
The new parking services will enable Council to better position parking services for current and future growth and demand, Mr Weston says.
“As well as increasing compliance, the new system fulfils Council’s aim to provide efficient, modern and cost-effective services to the community.
“The software will also allow us to promote local activities and events on terminal screens in future and gives us the flexibility to vary parking restrictions and accept all payment options – from coins to mobile parking apps. There’s also the ability for multi-language functions, including te reo Māori.”
Options for staff who will be impacted by the contract are being worked through with the staff and their union representatives.
i-Park will progressively take over the services from Rotorua Lakes Council from 1 July this year, the start of the 2018/19 financial year.
New terminals are expected to be installed in central city streets in September and October and as these are installed, people will have the option to pay for parking via their credit/debit cards and a phone app. The phone app will be available to download at this time.
There are currently more than 3550 vehicle parks in the central city, including more than 500 metered and pay-and-display parks.
The demonstration in the Haupapa Street carpark is expected to start in June and i-Park and the Council will monitor the new technology and assist people to transition. The demonstration will run until the new meters are rolled out in September and October.
“We’re conducting a demonstration to not only test the technology but to ensure ease of use and iron out any potential teething problems to ensure as smooth a transition as possible later in the year,” Mr Weston says.
Why is Council making changes to parking services?
The demand for parking will continue to increase and predicted ongoing economic and population growth in Rotorua will continue to expand this need. The present parking systems use obsolete coin-operated meters that are expensive to operate and maintain, as well as being labour-intensive to monitor. This dated technology has contributed to low enforcement rates.
Why have parking restrictions?
Successful urban centres depend heavily on the availability of well-operated and demand-balanced parking facilities.
Restrictions enable the fair rationing of limited spaces to give everyone equal access to wherever they want to go.
Enforcement ensures parking spaces are managed for the collective good of residents, businesses and visitors, ensuring equity, minimising abuse of restrictions such as time limits, safety provisions and designated spaces (eg disability and delivery parking).
Tell me about the new system
It’s paperless, sophisticated and offers multiple ways to pay, easily.
The parking management system will eventually include up to 80 touch-screen parking terminals in the CBD (including the parking building and off-street parks) capable of accepting coins, credit/debit cards and mobile parking app payment options.
Screens on the terminals can include customised messages, which means we can promote local activities or events. As well, there is complete flexibility in permitted free times, for example, the terminals can be programmed to allow for the first hour free or variations on this.
An additional feature will allow the terminals to be programmed in future in multiple languages, including te reo Māori. This feature will be an added benefit for not just locals but also for Rotorua as a key tourist destination.
How can I pay?
There are multiple ways to pay - coins, credit/debit cards and mobile parking app payment.
What is the benefit to ratepayers?
It will be the responsibility of i-Park to keep the services operational and to deliver the services as per its agreement with the Council. Council no longer needs to invest an estimated $2 million to modernise and invest in technology and the maintenance, operation and upkeep of that technology.
Revenue collection will improve through better compliance because the technology allows more efficient and effective enforcement options.
i-Park is responsible for managing, operating and maintaining the specialist technology, which means Council funds can be directed to other community services.
How was the decision made?
A wide range of options were tested through a systematic process which involved early market involvement of the specialist parking services sector. The possible options were carefully analysed. This was followed by a staged procurement programme to identify the most suitable specialist parking services partner.
In December 2017 Council approved awarding the contract to manage all parking services within the Rotorua District to Auckland-based Harding Traffic Limited. The Chief Executive was delegated the authority to negotiate the final terms of a contract.
How does the contract work?
i-Park will be paid a monthly fee to provide parking services on behalf of Rotorua Lakes Council.
i-Park will invest in the new parking infrastructure that will replace current meters and pay-and-display technology.
Council will receive the parking revenue and will continue to set the policy including the prices for parking.
How long will the Haupapa Street demonstration be running?
The demonstration will run from June until all meters are replaced with the new technology.
This will allow people to see and experience the new technology and to take advantage of having another area where they can use credit/debit cards to pay for parking.
Tell me more about i-Park
Auckland-based New Zealand owned and operated Harding Traffic is a specialist Intelligent Traffic Management company within the traffic industry and engaged in the parking services procurement process with Rotorua Lakes Council. i-Park (Innovative Parking Solutions Ltd) is a sister company.
Harding focuses on the assembly, supply and installation of intelligent traffic management systems while i-Park focuses on delivering services.
Harding will install the technical solution, but i-Park will be responsible for service delivery and the operation of the system.
i-Park terminals are state of the art and are offered with touch screen capability.
i-Park will also be providing and using specialist licence plate-recognition parking enforcement software solution that interfaces with the parking terminals and other systems and manages the enforcement process. It provides a seamless interface with the Ministry of Justice e-filing system and with New Zealand Transport Agency vehicle registry. It also provides an online portal for anyone needing to view, pay or request further consideration of an infringement.
This level of solution makes the service as efficient as possible therefore enabling i-Park to offer the solution as cost-effectively as possible to the Council.
Do other Councils charge for public parking?
Yes. There is a range of systems operating around the country including pay by plate, pay by space and pay-and-display. Free parking and some paid parking is generally time limited, after which an infringement will be issued.
Photos: Council Chief Executive signing the new contract with i-Park General Manage Mike Kelly and i-Park meter technology which will be rolled out across the district after 1 July.