Edinburgh goes mobile: Scotland's capital has introduced cellphone parking in its city centre

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland (UK), has added the mPARK mobile phone-based system developed by Dublin (Ireland)-based Itsmobile to 266 of its Parkeon (formerly Schlumberger e-City) solar-powered Stelio pay-and-display terminals.
itsmobile.gifIt is the first local authority in the UK to implement the scheme, which has made use of terminals' existing modems.

Drivers are now able to pay for parking in the city centre via their mobile phones. The can charge the cost either to a credit card or a Royal Bank of Scotland FastPay account, where payments can be charged to their bank accounts or debit cards.

The new facility is designed to save drivers having to find the right change to pay for parking, and to simplify the management of parking expenses for businesses.

Although the P&D terminals will continue to handle cash transactions, the use of mPARK will reduce the volumes of coinage needing to be collected and accounted for by the City Council, increasing security and reducing administration costs.

Launching the new system after a six-week trial period, Councillor Andrew Burns, the executive member for Transport and Public Realm on the City of Edinburgh Council, commented: "We are confident that the flexibility and payment options offered by our partners will prove popular with motorists and that it will make a positive contribution to the parking service in Edinburgh."

Edinburgh replaced its original on-street P&D array with 456 solar-powered Stelio terminals in Spring 2003. The machines are centrally-monitored, via the Transcomm wireless data network, by a PC in the Council's parking department running Parkeon's Parkfolio Supervision software.

This enables terminals to send electronic messages alerting officials to incidents eg ticket stocks needing replenishing, and is designed to protect and optimise parking revenues. It also maintains levels of customer service by helping ensure that drivers always have access to operational P&Ds.

About mPark

mpark.gifmPARK is the result of a close collaboration between Parkeon, Itsmobile (which was founded in 1999) and Transcomm. Parkeon sales manager Arthur Crossley expects to launch mPARK in a number of other UK cities during 2004. (It has been operational in Dublin since 2002, following the Irish capital's decision to install a cashless parking system).
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