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Magic cashless solution to paying town parking fees

Nora Murphy, traffic-litter warden, with Mary Coote-Ryan, Mayor of Ennis; Leonard Cleary, town clerk and Theresa Talty, Ennis Town Council, at the launch of Pay By Phone Parking, a new scheme introduced by Ennis Town Council. Photograph by Declan Monaghan
Ennis has become only the third place in Ireland to introduce a new cashless method of paying for parking. Ennis Town Council have this week launched the ParkMagic system, enabling customers displaying a ParkMagic barcode window sticker in the windscreen of their cars to make parking payments via text message or phonecall.

 

Traffic wardens use electronic handheld devices to scan the barcode or input vehicle registrations to verify payment status. The system also includes a text messaging option for customers to be notified that their payment is due to expire.

The system is already in operation in Limerick City and Cork City.

Meanwhile, Ennis Town Council has also announced the introduction of free parking in the town from 5pm each day up to end of December. It is anticipated that the scheme will encourage local businesses to extend their opening hours during the full summer season and encourage greater numbers of people into the town. The initiative comes following a business owners’ briefing in relation to the next steps for Ennis following the town’s Purple Flag accreditation.

Welcoming both initiatives, newly appointed Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Mary Coote Ryan, said, “I would like to commend the council for providing innovative and easier ways for members of the public to park in the town. The introduction of the pay-by-phone system complements other parking initiatives such as the extension of free parking during the summer season, the Christmas free parking scheme and the introduction of new carparking by-laws.

“Furthermore, Ennis Town Council became one of the first local authorities in the country to install credit card pay-and-display facilities in 2012.

“These initiatives will further complement Ennis’ status as a Purple Flag town and as a shopping destination.”
Commenting on the introduction of pay-by-phone parking, Leonard Cleary, town clerk, explained, “The ParkMagic system uses mobile phone technology to simplify parking payments while also allowing greater access for the public and the overall efficiency of parking in the town. Cost savings will also be delivered to the council as the cashless system means less coin collections as well as less wear and tear on Pay & Display machines.

The council is delighted to be in a position to respond to the request from the business community for this innovation at a 2012 workshop to discuss improvements to parking in the town.

“An expiry text message facility is available to customers to alert them 10 minutes prior to their parking payment expiring and will prompt a repeat payment if permitted at the relevant parking location. This facility encourages space turnover and also maximises the level of payment compliance.

“Payment systems that allow flexible payment arrangements rather than payment of parking on arrival encourage longer shopping trips and greater consumer spend, as indicated in the recent Retail Excellence Ireland report on Ennis and other towns and cities,” added Mr Cleary.

Before parking, drivers need to register with ParkMagic. This can be done by picking up a window sticker in any one of the designated outlets including Ennis Town Council (Drumbiggle), Rowan Tree Café Bar, County Boutique, Willow, The Ennis Bookshop, Zest, Ennis Tourist Office, County Museum, Glór, Chamber of Commerce, Clare County Council, De Valera Library, Bank of Ireland, AIB, Ulster Bank, Permanent TSB, Credit Union, Main Post Office and Market Place Post Office.

Customers can access their ParkMagic account online, where they can see all parking transactions and add credit using a credit/debit card. They can also top up their account by phone. Each new customer receives €2 starter credit. For more, see www.parkmagic.ie; www.ennistowncouncil.ie or contact ParkMagic support on 0818 220107.

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