A pocket parking meter for Ghent motorists

First there were coins, then the Proton e-wallet followed by the PEP (personal or in-car parking meter); now motorists in Ghent, Belgium can use their mobile phones to pay for their on-street parking, irrespective of their phone operator.
Better still, Ghent's city council has not had to install a new system to support the introduction of this new payment option.

And that is what makes the solution adopted by the city council so original. A number of other municipal councils have already launched parking payment systems using mobile phones (m-parking), but this is the first time such a function has been fully integrated into an existing parking payment infrastructure, with all the resulting cost savings.

Ghent has opted for complementary systems, accepting parking payment by mobile phone, coins and cards so that motorists are virtually sure of being able to pay for their parking.

The system is produced by Parkeon, in partnership with NCS and its Crandy service and with CEVI, on behalf of the city of Ghent:
Parkeon supplies and operates the parking rights management system based on the original electronic ticket concept,
Crandy is the multi-application mobile phone payment system, backed by a European e-money Bank licence,
CEVI supplies the systems for verifying payments by mobile phone.

Simplicity is the keynote for the user: no prior registration is needed to open a Crandy account, just an SMS message to the service giving the vehicle registration number. The user's Crandy account can be recharged by credit card, bank transfer or top-up card, either from the mobile handset or via Internet. Top-up cards can be purchased from the city of Ghent parking department or from shopkeepers, who may also use the cards as customer loyalty bonuses.

To pay for parking, the user simply sends a text message to access the service, selects the parking rate and, where appropriate, the length of stay, and makes the requisite payment. A return SMS informs the user when his parking time expires. When the parking period is over, the user's Crandy account is debited by the appropriate amount.

The concept also offers new possibilities from a single phone call, such as payment for actual parking time only and remote extension of parking time.

Parked vehicles are monitored by traffic wardens using PDA-type (personal digital assistant) portable devices to access the central database containing details of mobile phone payments. The traffic warden has only to enter the vehicle registration number to check that the corresponding payment has been made.

For the Ghent parking manager's department, the system offers consistency and consolidation of the parking meter and mobile parking payment systems, ensuring:
uniform pricing,
accounting follow-up of all parking transactions,
statistical monitoring of the use of paid parking.

As Luc Van den Berghe, Director of Parkeerbedrijf Stad Gent, says: "We were looking for a payment system that would be convenient for users, so they wouldn't have to worry about always having change or enough credit in their e-wallet. With this ground-breaking payment system, users can pay for their parking or top up their virtual account by mobile phone whenever and wherever they want, and nowadays almost everyone has a mobile phone within reach."

Yves Chambeau, President of Parkeon, explains: "Thanks to this latest mark of confidence from the city of Ghent, we are able to use this new project to finalise new parking payment concepts based on the "e-ticket", and to assess both its adoption by users and its relevance to cities and parking managers."

Philippe Lerouge, Managing Director of NCS, adds: "With the aid of our professional partners, we have deployed a parking service for the city of Ghent that demonstrates our constant concern to make everyday life easier for users. Our universally accessible mobile payment system, which is already in use in several countries and for many different applications, represents a major parking innovation for motorists and indisputable value added for the payment process."

For Eddy Scheerlinck, Financial and Commercial Director of CEVI, "this project has given us an opportunity to strengthen our position on the Belgian market and to prove that our basic applications can integrate smoothly into new technologies."

About Parkeon

Parkeon is a global leading player in the fields of on-street and off-street parking and automated mass-transit ticketing equipment and systems.

Its activities encompass the development, manufacture, installation and maintenance of equipment and systems, as well as related services, including managed services, which leverage a global network of data processing centres.

Parkeon is leader of the on-street parking segment with a 60% global market share. With an installed base of 140,000 machines, the Companys parking terminals are a familiar sight in over 3,000 cities across 40 countries.
Its Pay & Display systems control over 3 million parking spaces around the world.

Parkeon was formed in November 2003 after the spin-off of the parking & ticketing division of Schlumberger. The Company has played a significant role in the development of Pay & Display technology, in which it has over 30 years experience.

About NCS mobile payment GmbH

crandy logo.jpgNCS mobile payment GmbH, the European benchmark in mobile payment systems, has developed technology that turns any mobile phone into a mobile cash account that can be used to pay for everyday services both on-street and online. NCS markets its Crandy service to the general public, and also the MCELLS service, an unbranded version of the same service aimed at the banking, telecoms operators or service sectors.

With just one call to Crandy, any mobile phone user can instantly open a mobile account, free of charge, linked to the user's credit card or bank account. The system is completely independent of any telephone operator, works on all mobile phones and with all banks. Depending on the applications involved, payments may be made via a call, SMS, GPRS, Java, NFC or by WiFi.

About CEVI

cevi logo.pngCevi provides products and services in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Major clients include local government agencies and associated administrations such as police areas, fire brigades and inter-city associations.

Cevi, with a workforce of around 200 and over 30 years' experience in ICT support, specialises in producing modern, robust systems to bring the benefits of ICT to your organisation.
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