New Parking System from APT Skidata Supports Canary Wharf’s Customer Service Approach

entry control column

A comprehensive, state-of-the-art parking system from APT Skidata, the world’s leading parking technology business, is helping Canary Wharf Management (CWM) extend its high quality customer service throughout the entire parking environment on the 97 acre East London Estate.

The bespoke system from APT Skidata, which replaces equipment installed in 2,000, combines greater flexibility, better integration with third party systems, and significant cost savings for the management team with an enhanced parking experience for those visiting the Canary Wharf Estate by car.

The new pay on foot parking system has been installed at the six subterranean car parks and one surface car park providing up to 3,300 spaces in total. Some 48 entry/exit control columns have been installed, which includes nine columns positioned on the left side of the lane to accommodate international vehicles/drivers and a further 13 columns used to control access to ‘nested’ areas within the car parks for contract parking.

Key to the system is the use of ANPR at the entrance and exit barriers, which primarily supports concessionary parking and provides additional security to the site. Parking spaces are licenced to businesses as part of their lease agreements so number plates are registered and therefore recognised at the barrier, which automatically opens. The entry barriers also have integrated HID card readers to read the driver’s security card – the same card they use for office building access. The use of ANPR removes queuing at the exit and enables the traffic to keep flowing.

Mo Hajjaj the Car Parks Operations Manager, says that ANPR not only allows accurate monitoring of concessionary parking, but also delivers useful customer data: “We can now see how the licenced spaces are being used by the pass card holders without ever preventing a car from entering the car park,” he says.

Mo explains that they operate a so-called ‘softpool’ system that enhances customer service: “If, for example, a business has 50 allocated spaces it will have more HID cards for its employees because we know that not everyone will be using the car park 100 percent of the time. We never want to prevent the 51st car from entering the car park so the barrier will open as normal but we can build a picture of how much or how often the business is going beyond its allocation.”

The information gathered from the Skidata software provides CWM with the information it needs to calculate excess hours, which can be used to invoice the tenant or upsell more spaces based on demand.

An additional benefit of ANPR is that the car is directly linked to a ticket number which makes managing lost tickets much easier and fairer for the driver as the parking team can see exactly when the car arrived and charge only for the hours used rather than the standard day rate.

The car parks are busy seven days a week with equal demand coming from office workers and shopper visitors. To cater for the large number of commuters travelling in by motorbike there are now 869 spaces across the managed car parks and all the car parks have dedicated motorbike lanes.

New sensor loops have been installed in front of the barriers to easily detect two-wheeled vehicles so that they can be charged a reduced motorcycle rate. The introduction of dedicated lanes removes any possibility of motorbikes going around the barriers to avoid the parking charges and since the new system has been installed revenue generated from motorcycles has increased by 100 percent.

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CWM’s priority in the tender process was to select a partner whose technology could integrate with other systems and work with the management in creating a bespoke system worthy of the landmark site. Mo knew of APT’s reputation and was confident that it understood the environment: “Working with a company that had the system integration capabilities was crucial as security encryption on season ticket pass cards was a priority,” he continues.

“APT Skidata was even able to develop the necessary software to read the cards used by one tenant who operates on a completely different system. With a site like Canary Wharf, such flexibility is essential. There is often much to learn when a new system is installed and it is important that we use it to its maximum advantage.”

Aesthetics is always important for the Canary Wharf Estate and the APT Skidata equipment fits well with its environment. It also delivers a range of value-added benefits: “The ability to capture motorcycle revenues and adapt to different tariff mechanisms and validation schemes allows us to offer discounted parking to shoppers with a validated ticket,” he adds.

“Reporting systems are also very important – giving us flexibility to produce the types of reports that are most useful to us. By working with APT Skidata, we have bespoke reports at the touch of the button giving us statistics on pass cards, the patterns of retail customers and revenue statistics.”

APT Skidata’s Managing Director, Sean Dunstan says that the challenge was in delivering a uniform service across the entire estate: “The estate’s parking facility is large enough to accommodate multiple user types and now with the right system in place the parking team can more than meet the visitor’s expectations with a parking facility that matches the environment it serves.”

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