New Flowbird technology will save car park users’ valuable time and money

Newcastle City Council has announced it is using Flowbird’s solutions to upgrade pay and display machines at its two busiest car parks to create a more convenient parking experience for residents and visitors of all ages. In addition, this work will enable the council’s successful check-in, check-out scheme to be rolled out to 10 new car parks.

The work to replace 34 old machines at Eldon Square and Eldon Gardens with 14 state-of-the-art Flowbird S5 terminals should be completed by the end September. The check-in, check-out installation in the 10 car parks is expected to be finished by the end of this year.

Users of the two busiest car parks – which generate £2m in combined revenue annually prior to the impact of COVID-19 – will benefit from using the new machines that feature the latest touchscreen technology that is faster than previous machines. In 2019, the parking machines at Eldon Square and Eldon Gardens dealt with 367,000 coin and card transactions and 204,000 remote payments by phone.

At both car parks, the new Flowbird machines will continue to only charge users up to the exact minute they are parking. Under the check-in, check-out system, the parking session starts once the user enters their details into the payment terminal with their bank card. The session will then stop when the user returns to the car and check-outs using the same card. This means the days of clock watching are a thing of the past as there is no need to return and purchase a new ticket by time intervals – saving residents and visitors money.

As well as faster and more user interactive ticket machines, another improvement the new machines bring is convenience and cost-savings. The council is able to run the same service but can save money as fewer machines are needed. This is because they are now located at the pedestrian exit points and are easier to find – saving users valuable time trying to locate the old machines across various places on the car park levels. This improvement is thanks to work between Flowbird and Imperial to ensure coin and card entries at the ticket machines are transferred onto the Civil Enforcement’s Officers handheld device.

However, the biggest advantage of reducing the overall number of machines and by upgrading the machines in both Eldon car parks, is that the council are now able to move the ‘old’ 34 card enabled machines from both Eldon car parks and install at 10 brand new car parks in the city, thus benefiting thousands of users.

Russell Nelson, Service Development Lead for Parking Services at the council said:

In this age, people want ease and transparency. The new pay and display machines mean users can conveniently park in Newcastle and get charged only for the time they are parked, not by arbitrary intervals. When residents and visitors park, they can be sure that they won’t be charged a minute longer than necessary for their visit.

Improvements to pay and display facilities across Newcastle will mean that over a million car park users will be able to use card payments alongside cash at the ticket machines.

Flowbird’s pay and display machines are designed to be easy-to-use for all motorists with clear displays to process transactions. The technology allows car parkers to pay with cash or card. Although cashless payments account for 75% of parking transactions at Eldon Square and Eldon Gardens car parks, cash payments remain important for many users, and availability of both was seen as key to supporting all users.

Danny Hassett, Flowbird’s Managing Director Smart City UK, commented:

Upgrades to pay and display machines in Newcastle means residents and visitors will get great value for money and a more tailored customer experience tied to how long they stay and how they want to pay. The check-in, check-out system at these busy car parks will ensure residents and visitors of all ages can park quickly and safely. It’s about evolving the system to provide a range of convenient options that works for all customer preferences.