Wokingham Borough Council has moved to pay-by-plate technology with a check-in, check-out payment option in place of a barriered pay on foot system at its Carnival Pool multi-storey site.

The new Flowbird ticketless system, featuring touchscreen terminals at the car park and inside an adjacent leisure centre, not only improves vehicle flow but provides new flexibility for visitors either to pre-pay for a specified duration or pay on exit using check-in, check-out.

Whichever method is selected, motorists enter their vehicle registration details at the terminal on arrival – there’s no need to display a ticket because attendants can check status via handheld devices.

The Flowbird terminals offer pre-pay, using card and coins, and check-in, check-out options. With check-in, check-out, users log a payment card at the terminal at the same time as their registration details and then complete the card transaction upon return…meaning there’s no need to predict the length of stay.

“This new system fulfils the key requirements of the council for customer convenience and easy maintenance,” said Flowbird’s Richard Parsons. “There is a growing trend towards pay-by-plate systems because of the reduction in hardware and the ease of checking vehicle status – and, of course, it does away with the need for paper tickets, which is an environmental benefit.”

The Carnival Pool multi-storey in Wokingham offers 529 spaces across nine half levels and includes 17 blue badge spaces, nine parent and child spaces and four electric charging bays. There is also a terminal located beyond the entry turnstiles at the adjacent leisure centre. This provides users with a special discounted tariff, along with the two parking payment options.

The four Flowbird terminals feature touch screen displays and are conveniently located to optimise throughput and cut queues. They can also be configured remotely for any future changes required by the council via the web-based management system provided by Flowbird.

Geoff Hislop, Parking Manager for Wokingham Borough Council, commented:

“The removal of the barrier system has greatly improved traffic flow on the access road leading into the car park. The use of VRM-based ticket machines has significantly improved our ability to enforce the car park and it provides a cost effective solution to meet the demands of the service requirements for the car park.

To assist customers, they are also not required to return to their vehicles to display a ticket on the dashboard as the system provides the enforcement team with these details via an App. This has helped the Council to deploy all the terminals and signage at ground floor level of a nine storey car park in convenient thoroughfares.

As a result, the Council is able to operate the car park with fewer terminals than would normally be the case with conventional pay and display machines, which has led to lower capital and operational costs. Further innovative solutions have been incorporated for external customers of the car park with machines being deployed in two off site locations offering a separate tariff structure and hours of operation.

The enforcement app combined with the digital touch screen and the ability to provide for different customers with different needs, means the car park technology can be adapted to meet demands on the parking service without the need for expensive solutions.”