A Complete Guide to Pay and Display Machines

If you own a private car park and are looking to utilise its potential to generate you some extra income, then implementing pay and display machines is a great way to do just that. These machines show users of your car park that they must pay to use it, allowing you to monitor whether or not people do so without the need for barriers at the entrance/exit points.

We’ve put together this guide to help you understand everything you need to know about pay and display parking, including the benefits it can offer you.

What is a P&D Machine?

In order to park in a P&D car park, customers must pay for a certain amount of hours at a machine, which will then print out a ticket for them to display in their vehicle as evidence of said payment. This is an easy and efficient way for your customers to pay for parking while the machines securely store any revenue generated.

The ticket will show customers the time in which their parking started, as well as its expiry time, so that they can clearly see the duration for which their parking is valid.

How Does Pay and Display work?

Nowadays, there is often the option to pay for parking with cash and card at pay and display machines. The tariff for parking will usually be displayed on the payment machine (and often a larger sign that’s been erected elsewhere in the car park), so that customers can choose how long they want to pay to park for.

If paying by cash, then customers put their money into the machine and press a button to print a ticket; the machine is able to detect the amount of money that has been inserted and work out the corresponding parking time that has been paid for, which will be shown on the ticket.

If paying by card, then customers are instead prompted to press a button until their desired parking duration is displayed, which will also show the corresponding price they’ll need to pay. They will then press a separate button to confirm this, before paying with their card, after which their ticket will be printed.

A Brief History of Pay & Display

Pay and display machines originated in the United States back in 1950. They were introduced by Park-UR-Self, who have since grown to become the leading manufacturer of these machines in the States, now operating by the name Ventek International.

As for the UK, the first of these machines was used in London in 1968.these machines accepted coins only, with many of them only accepting one denomination of coins, nor were they able to give change; as the years went on, this grew to accept a wider range of coins, however they still remained as coin-only accepting machines for the first 40 years of their use. This wasn’t so much of an issue when tariffs were low, but as tariffs have increased over the years, so too did the need for banknote and card payments along with the ability to give change.

Payment systems have since improved at P&D carparks to now even allow contactless payments and even remote payments, whereby users can pay for their parking via a mobile app or online, with many of the tariff signs including a QR code that can be scanned to take visitors to the necessary site in order to do so, which is especially useful for those who are in a rush or when there are queues to use the payment machine(s).

The Importance of P&D Machines

There’s a reason why P&D is arguably the most common and widely used system for parking management in the UK – it allows for a streamlined, efficient and profitable parking operation. This form of parking management is not only ideal for local authorities and owners of car parks, like yourself, but they also ensure an easy customer experience for those using your car park.

Pay and display is important for offering a convenient and easy to use car park whilst generating you revenue reliably and consistently.

Their Benefits

  1. Effective compliance management

In comparison to some other types of parking management systems, pay and display is an effective way to ensure customers remain compliant and reduces the risk of people taking advantage of your car park for free.

P&D car parks are some of the most consistent when it comes to generating revenue, while the hassle-free payment system ensures you collect revenue from every vehicle that stays in your car park.

Not only that, but wardens can easily spot when a vehicle hasn’t got a ticket (or a valid ticket) displayed and are able to efficiently take the necessary enforcement action. Not only do these officers discourage unauthorised parking, but they can help to ensure your car park remains safe and secure.

  1. Reduce labour costs

By using P&D machines, there is no need to hire a parking attendant for your car park, which can significantly reduce labour costs. Instead, the only labour you need to pay for is the ticket enforcement officers, who will only visit the car park at interval times throughout the day.

This also gives you the opportunity to keep your fees slightly lower than other car parks in the local area, which will attract more customers and encourage them to stay for longer periods of time, which in turn can actually work to generate you more revenue.

  1. Easy to install

Installing a pay and display machine is not only affordable compared to other car parking enforcement technology, but the process is easy and efficient with minimal disruption. On top of that, they offer flexibility in terms of placement, being ideal for both small and large car parks.

They are also low maintenance; malfunctions are unlikely and these machines are great at withstanding bad weather conditions, as is frequent in the UK, making them incredibly reliable whilst keeping upkeep costs low for you.

Additional Ticketing Services

Whilst pay and display machines are effective on their own, they can also be used in conjunction with additional parking enforcement measures for extra security as part of a comprehensive compliance management system.

Below are some of the additional measures you could implement to further the effectiveness of your pay and display car park and ensure unauthorised parking is tackled efficiently.

Security Cameras

Installing security cameras at various points across your premises can help to ensure that customers are using your car park as intended, not partaking in any disruptive behaviour and are paying for their stay.

The best places to have cameras installed are at the entrance/exit of your car park, facing any payment machines and areas that have a general overview of the car park. This covers all areas and helps you ensure that visitors are honouring payments.

This also discourages antisocial behaviour at your car park, especially during the night or out of operating hours, keeping it safe and in good condition.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Systems

ANPR systems are a highly effective way to ensure that visitors are paying for their stay. Some P&D machines can prompt customers to enter their vehicle registration number when paying for their ticket, which can then be checked by automatic number plate readers installed at the entrance/exit of your car park.

These cameras can effectively detect a vehicle’s registration and compare it to the registrations entered into the P&D machine, not only ensuring that the vehicle has paid, but that they haven’t overstayed the time allocated on their ticket by comparing the time they entered and left the car park with the time they paid for on the system.

These are also useful to install if you offer mobile or app payments. This allows your customers to pay for their parking ahead of time or remotely, without the need to visit the P&D machine or display a ticket. Instead, their compliance is checked through their vehicle registration.

Security Barriers

Although pay and display car parks forgo the need for entrance and exit barriers, they can be a worthwhile investment for security. If you don’t intend to offer 24-hour parking, then having security barriers installed to be used outside of operating hours makes sure that no one uses your car park during this time.

This also stops people from entering your car park to engage in antisocial behaviour.

Get in Touch

If you’re looking to install pay and display machines at your car park, then look to us here at Park Direct UK.

Not only can we supply you with P&D machines, but we will also carry out full maintenance on these for you, servicing them as and when necessary. You can also arrange for cash collection on a regular basis, which we will carry out depending on your individual requirements.

For more information on our services and what we can offer you, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

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