To make matters worse, old meters were costing a fortune to maintain, and when they broke down, often fell out of action for a full day. That’s when we stepped in, with a complete pay-by-plate solution for more than 10,000 parking spaces.
The council wanted to let users pay any way they liked, so we installed just two types of meter that covered demand for coin as well as ‘tap n go’ payment. Then we integrated our systems with the council’s preferred payment app.
For the first time ever, the council was able to push information through meters to better manage traffic, which became particularly handy during large events. It also took full advantage of its newfound ability to change meter rates at the click of a button, based on demand.
Since Ballarat is classified as a heritage city, the council tries to reduce street clutter as much as possible. So the change to our smaller, more aesthetically appealing Metro meters came as a big bonus.
“Our parking system used to be a real hodgepodge of different meters, rates and time zones. We had six different styles of meters from different companies. Some were pay-and-display, some were the old single head meters that accepted coins. Others you would enter a bay number. New stuff had been bolted on and nothing had ever been taken out.
On top of that, the equipment cost a fortune to repair in terms of staff time, parts and lost revenue. It was a real mess.”
“We weren't sure how we were going to fix the situation but we liked the idea of pay-by-plate, and knew many people wanted a car parking app, which a lot of systems couldn't facilitate.
So we went to market with an open tender and received 14 responses. When we did our assessment, we narrowed it down to the top three. And interestingly, all three recommended GPS equipment.”
“GPS’ willingness to customise their tech in order for us to do what we wanted really impressed us.
During large events we want to be able to manage traffic as it comes in, so the idea of being able to push information through the meters was very appealing. The other aspect was the ability to shift pricing based on demand at any one time. If we had parts of the CBD that weren't being utilised, we could quickly adjust the pricing accordingly. This degree of customisation came into its own when we wanted to offer free parking following Covid lockdown, to encourage people back into the city centre.”
“Our IT people were impressed with GPS’ flexibility and preparedness to fit into the systems that we already had operating. They would highlight any potential integration issues and would supply workarounds or fixes that preempted anything going wrong.
There was no issue working with a vendor in another country. The GPS guys were on site throughout the installation period and they talked us through everything. If we ever had a question they were only a Zoom call away.”
“We wanted a really good education process for everyone associated with the new system – our mechanics, our parking officers, and our traffic guys. GPS taught everybody exactly how to use all the systems, both back end and front end from a user's perspective, which allowed us to then extend that education out onto the street to the wider public with great confidence.”
“GPS meters are certainly aesthetically more appealing than the meters we had. Being a heritage city we try to reduce street clutter as much as possible. The option of using smaller meters and fewer of them was a big bonus for us.”
“As soon as people started using the new parking meters, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. We’ve made huge strides in improving the parking experience for everyone, taking away the hassle and frustration of days past. I'm happy we went with GPS, because we got it right.”
Senior Projects Officer, City of Ballarat