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Thames-Coromandel District Council makes it easier to pay for a day on the water

2 minutes
Sep 22, 2022

Boaties heading out on the water at one of New Zealand’s most popular holiday destinations now have an easier way to pay. 

Thames-Coromandel District Council have replaced the old cash ‘honesty boxes’ at nine boat ramps with GPS’ PayEasy cashless payment system.

PayEasy allows customers to pay for a digital boat ramp permit by scanning a QR code displayed at the site. After scanning, customers are taken directly to a secure online payment portal, where they can pay using one-click Google Pay or Apple Pay, or by entering their credit card details. 

More convenience, better compliance, improved security

Under the old system, payment compliance was low and difficult to measure, with the council relying on infrequent physical surveys to assess payment levels. The most recent survey found a rate of just 30%. 

Thames-Coromandel District Council wanted to offer a more modern, convenient way for boat ramp users to pay. 

“If we’re asking people to pay for a service, we need to make it easy for them to do so” says Ellen Cooper, Technical Support Officer - Coastal Management at the council. “Nowadays, people typically don’t carry cash on them, but nearly everyone carries a smart phone - especially when heading out on the water.”

Users can still use cash to pay for their permit at participating local retailers or the council offices, if they prefer. 

“We found that immediately after implementation, many of our regular customers were still buying their permits in person before they arrived at the ramp. However, PayEasy payments are steadily tracking upwards as people notice the signage at the ramp and realise that next time they can just pay when they get there, instead of making a special trip.”

As well as making payment more convenient for customers, and thus increasing compliance, another big motivator for the upgrade was improved security. 

“We’d been dealing with a lot of theft, both of cash from the boxes, and of physical permits from boat trailers. That issue has entirely disappeared now we’ve gone digital.”

A trouble-free transition

Ellen says the move to PayEasy has been straightforward. 

“GPS have been great to work with throughout the implementation. We’ve requested a number of modifications and have ended up with a product customised to our requirements. Our Bylaws Compliance team will be using the GPS EasyView Plus licence plate recognition app to enforce payment of both parking and boat ramps, so it’s been a seamless roll-out for them, too.” 

The council thought carefully about how best to support their customers to adapt to the new payment method ahead of the switch. 

“We created a short video for our website and some printed flyers to show people how to use PayEasy, but most of us are accustomed to using QR codes and online payments now, so it hasn’t been at all difficult for the majority of boat ramp users to adapt.”

With PayEasy already in use in parking areas, airfields, and afterhours refuse transfer stations across the region, the council is now looking to implement the solution at their wharves. 

“Over time our customers will become accustomed to using PayEasy as a standard way to pay across many of the services they use.” 

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