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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 23/06/2003
Implications of Pay-on-Departure Systems

Annexe 1

Implications of Pay-on-Departure Systems

Physical Requirements

1. P&D systems normally only require single traffic lanes for entry and exit as there is no physical constraint on traffic movements and no opportunities for obstruction by drivers dropping or misplacing tickets or payment or being confused by barrier operating mechanisms. Barrier controls require reservoirs to be provided for vehicles to wait without affecting the internal operation of the car park or traffic flows on the public highway. Twin entry and exit lanes will normally be required to reduce queuing and to allow for barrier operating problems. The result is that a significant floor area which, with a P&D system could be laid out for parking, will be required for the additional entry and exits and queuing reservoirs.


2. Pay-on-foot machines need to offer change-giving facilities which need cash replenishment. They will also need to contain sufficient change at the commencement of each charging period, unlike P&D machines which are emptied at the end of every charging day. There is accordingly the increased risk associated with cash handling and the risk of forced entry in the knowledge that the machines will contain an amount of change at all times. Alternatively, the machines will need to be replenished before the start of each charging period. There are cost and operating implications of this. The majority of car park operators have pay stations under permanent cctv surveillance both for the security of their contents and the safety of customers feeding cash into them in enclosed areas of the car park. This is considered essential in this instance where basement parking is proposed.


3. Pay-on-departure systems, controlled by automatic barriers, require a permanent staff presence to deal with equipment malfunctions and to assist members of the public, as well as providing a security presence. A percentage of drivers will have problems with the equipment or will have lost or damaged their tickets, will have insufficient cash for the payment required, or have vehicle failures at the entry or exit barriers. A “help” button must be provided which can summon assistance within a few minutes. Unlike P&D systems, any problems with the entry barriers will make the car park inaccessible and problems at the exits will result in vehicles being trapped.

4. Regardless of the daily charging period, pay on departure barriers will need to be in operation for an extended period of the day. If the barriers were operated only from 08.00 hours until 18.00 hours, in common with the current P&D charging period, long-stay parkers would be able to arrive at any time and leave at any time after 18.00 hours without payment. Motorists arriving before 08.00 hours would not have a ticket recording their entry time and would therefore need to pay the maximum charge to exit, in common with those who have lost their tickets. The barriers will therefore need to be in operation from at least 07.00 hours to 20.00 hours to receive payment from the majority of parkers. They would need to be in operation and therefore attended, for 24 hours a day to guarantee payment by every user. Without 24 hour operation, residents and other long-stay users would be able to leave their cars for extended periods without charge, provided they exited the car park outside of these periods. All the time the barriers are in operation, an attendant must be available to be summoned.

5. Neighbouring Pay-on-Departure car park operators have been consulted on this issue and have adopted 24 hour barrier operation as the only practicable method of ensuring payment by all users. With restricted hours operation, at whatever time it was elected to raise the barriers for the night, a queue of parkers formed awaiting free exit. Operation of Pay-on-Departure therefore requires round-the-clock manning both for security and operational effectiveness. At least three full-time attendants with relief for breaks and absences will be required.


6. The maintenance requirements for automatic barriers, pay stations, note readers and ticket readers, in public use, are high. Failures of any, or all, will result in lost income. An effective, rapid, maintenance response will therefore be essential. A suitable maintenance agreement with a competent contractor will need to be in place at all times. This has revenue implications.