Fronde

New Zealand consumers can pay for parking using their mobile phone. The pay-by-phone parking service is marketed in New Zealand under the TXT-a-Park brand (a registered trademark owned by Vodafone NZ), and is the first of its type that requires no pre-registration by consumers, which allows for the immediate use of this world-leading solution.

The solution

Anyone with a mobile can use this pay-by-phone solution. TXT-a-Park™ has achieved significantly higher uptake than other mobile parking solutions because it doesn’t require pre-registration or the establishment of a prepaid parking account; it can be used immediately.

Marketed under the TXT-a-Park™ brand, the service was delivered in 2004 as a joint initiative between Fronde Anywhere, Vodafone New Zealand, and Cash Handling Systems, with all parties retaining ownership of their intellectual property. The service was expanded in 2006 to include Telecom New Zealand and its customers.

Fronde Anywhere provides and operates the mobile commerce solution; Cash Handling Systems provides the specialised parking machines; and the mobile network operators apply the payments to the mobile phone account (prepay and postpay), and reconciliation of funds to the councils.

The service can also be configured for payment direct to the bank account; or from other types of vending machines.

Signs of success

Consumers have cottoned on to the Council trials of the mobile commerce service, with significant user uptake. This success has resulted in cities fast-tracking the roll-out of pay-by-phone options across New Zealand. It has been so popular that TXT-a-Park™ is now available in cities across New Zealand with new councils being added regularly. The service is on track to become a nationwide, ubiquitous hub for mobile payments for parking services.

After installing trial machines Auckland City Council saw an increase in customer satisfaction and a 27% increase in revenue from those machines; Wellington City Council reports that 13% of total parking revenue for the city is from TXT-a-Park™ phone payments.

Expressions of interest in the service have also been received from Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

TXT-a-Park™ provides a number of benefits:

  • Payments can be made by mobile phone, credit card or cash; the customer has the choice.
  • Mobile transactions are automatically debited to the customer’s mobile phone account, or from their Prepay balance.
  • It reduces the stress of searching for change, and impact on local businesses.
  • Expense claim hassles are a thing of the past for people on business, who can now incorporate the parking charge onto their business mobile phone account.
  • The system is designed to run on an ASP basis so not only can additional councils, and new machines be easily included, but access by multiple mobile operators is supported as well.

How does TXT-a-Park™ work?

  • The customer goes to a parking machine and presses the ‘TXT-a-Park’ button, and selects the most appropriate time limit and parking cost (e.g. $4 for one hour or $8 for two hours).
  • The customer sends a text with the machine’s clearly labelled unique code to 7275 (PARK).
  • The machine vends a pay-and-display ticket, which the motorist displays in the car as normal.
  • The customer receives a text confirming receipt of funds from their mobile account credit balance. The entire transaction takes around six to ten seconds.
  • A 50 cent transaction fee for using the TXT-a-Park™ service is also debited from the customer’s account and is additional to the parking charges.

Built by Fronde Anywhere, the highly flexible and easily adaptable parking application can accommodate the needs of individual councils by providing features such as:

  • A comprehensive online reporting system that provides segmented views to individual councils and mobile operators
  • The ability to incorporate further payment options in the future, including direct integration with the bank account
  • Access and integration to multiple mobile operators’ billing systems to verify the customer has sufficient available credit to make the payment while the transaction is underway
  • Data communication between the machines and the application uses GPRS or CDMA technology.
  • The new generation parking machines were developed by Cash Handling Systems, and have a GPRS modem integrated into them, which communicates directly with the Fronde text parking application. The solid aluminium, vandal-resistant machines run on solar/battery power, and are configured to provide real time remote machine monitoring and fault reporting.

“TXT-a-Park™ gives councils a modern hi tech image and provides the public with an easy to use alternative payment option available to anyone with a NZ based mobile phone.” Mark Oliver, Director, Cash Handling Systems