A pre-pay parking payment system is currently being trialed by Auckland City Council.
Participants in the three-month trial pay for parking by using a special meter device, called SmartPark, and a pre-paid parking card from the council.
The parking card is inserted into the SmartPark meter, which is manufactured by Motorola. The user then selects the zone area, presses the OK button and removes the card.
The device — about 12 centimetres long — can be displayed either on the dashboard or hanging off the rear view mirror, says Mark Lockery, SmartPark manager at Auckland-based International Parking Systems.
The SmartPark payment system was introduced in Wellington in 2004. Currently, 1,500 units are being used in the capital, says Lockery. Each device is leased from SmartPark for $9 a month, he says.
The SmartPark meter has a built-in clock, which automatically stops charging at the end of the day, or starts charging in the morning. Drivers simply turn the meter off when returning to the car, he says.Participants in the Auckland-trial are using SmartPark for pay and display parking zones in the CBD, Newmarket and Ponsonby.
If the trial proves successful, the council will make SmartPark available to the general public as one of several ways to pay for parking, says an Auckland City Council spokeswoman.
The trial, which involves 50 participants from 25 businesses in Auckland, will finish up next week, she says.
The pre-paid card has a set value on it and each time the device is used, money is debited from the card until it has no value left, says Lockery.
The device is being used in several cities in Europe and the US, he says. International Parking Systems has had the product for four years.
Wellington was the first city in Australasia to test the system, says Lockery.