Chip Technology Parks Up At The Arndale Centre

On Tuesday, 30 August, new parking equipment will be operating in all three of The Centre's Car Parks that will provide the latest and most efficient Car Park Management System available.
arndale.jpgDrivers will arrive at an entry barrier and press for entry, but instead of being given a ticket, they will get a new ChipCoin. The ChipCoin contains a microchip which will hold all of the information usually found on an entry ticket. On leaving, the ChipCoin is inserted into a Pay Station and following payment, is returned to the driver for use at the exit barrier.

There are many benefits to this system but the one that drivers will appreciate most will be the reliability of the new equipment. The old equipment relied upon motors and printers to feed the ticket through the machinery whereas the new ChipCoin machines have no moving parts. All the information is stored electronically on the microchip and is then gravity fed through to the driver. The old ticket system relied upon information being stored on magnetic strips, printed on paper. Tickets became unreadable when crumpled or occasionally when held near other magnetic materials. This will be a thing of the past.
chipcoin.jpgBrian McFarland, The Arndale Shopping Centre Manager, said 'The service we provide in our Car Parks is vital to the shopping experience for our customers and I am delighted that we can now provide the fastest and most efficient equipment available. Not only is the new equipment faster, but we have added extra pay machines and entry and exit lanes that will accommodate our busy periods much more efficiently'.

The new system also helps The Centre in its environmental programme to reduce waste. Over 2,000,000 paper tickets will be saved in the process and it is expected that the ChipCoins will last for the life of the equipment. Lost ChipCoins however will be charged at the cost price of L5 each.
New parking equipment is just part of Prudential's L8m investment programme in The Centre's Car Parks. The programme started in Central Car Park in May 2005 and will finish in Market Car Park at the end of 2006. Every aspect of the Car Park operation has been reviewed from new entrance welcome signs, and new equipment, to more lighting, clearer directional signage, clearly defined walkways, additional spaces for disabled people and families, almost 100 extra CCTV cameras, increased control stations, more entry and exit points, improved running surface and new canopies and lobbies into The Centre.

Arndale Shopping Centre ParkingThe entry barriers at the top of the spiral ramp leading into Central Car Park have always been an unfriendly hurdle for The Centre's customers. Overcoming this obstacle was the first challenge for the architects and engineers and the solution they found has allowed the construction of an additional ramp.
At this stage the improvement plans encompass Central and Market Car Parks only. Improvements to the Library Car Park will be reviewed in 2007.

Special Parking Areas

Drivers with special needs have been given extra consideration and on completion of the programme, there will be over 100 spaces for Blue Badge holders and over 40 for parents with children and pushchairs.
These bays are located near the entrances to The Shopping Centre and are distinctly highlighted with colour codes and signage.
Security Officers who patrol and assist in the Car Parks will be monitoring to ensure that only bona fide users leave their cars in this area. Brian McFarland, Centre Manager said ''Managing these spaces can be difficult as there is no nationally recognised scheme to give badges for family vehicles but we do record registration numbers for vehicles and as a last resort, offending vehicles will be clamped”.
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