Paying for parking is one of the most common challenges that one faces especially if you live and drive in a city. From finding the perfect parking spot to figuring out the exact change or locating the parking meter, the list of pain points is never-ending. But thanks to the rise of mobile parking apps, the frustration associated with parking has been alleviated to a large extent.
Mobile payment offers car drivers a more convenient way to find and pay for parking, and it helps cities to plan and collect parking revenue more efficiently. As a result, consumer adoption of mobile parking apps has been growing in large and small cities across the world. If mobile parking apps are as beneficial as they sound, then how popular are parking apps in the different cities in Finland?
ParkMan researched the popularity of parking apps in Finland and the user adoption rates of mobile parking in different cities. The results show that Helsinki has the highest adoption rates with 90% of parking payments paid via apps. Turku is a strong runner-up with close to 70% mobile payments.
How can cities benefit from having mobile payments?
Cities can reduce cash handling costs by accepting mobile payments for parking. The long term goal for most cities is to reduce the number of parking meters in the streets as parking meters require maintenance and have a limited lifetime. By moving to online payments, cities not only reduce investments needed to purchase new parking meters but could also use these apps to get parking-related data on their municipalities. The general consensus is that mobile parking is here to stay and it is a good thing.
Currently, there are a handful of high-quality parking apps in the market. For example in Helsinki, competition between application developers (ParkMan, EasyPark, Moovy, etc.) is allowed. Competition naturally leads to higher adoption rates, as users have the freedom to choose what app they use, and app developers actively work on improving their product to grab the market share.
Bringing mobile payments to parking garages
In many small cities, the city also operates parking garages. Thus far, parking garages have had their payment systems, usually requiring the car driver to use cash or credit card. It is recommended that cities also expand mobile payment options to garages, to speed up the digitization process. For example, Europark, a major national parking operator allows its consumers to choose from various applications or payment methods. The benefits are the same in garages as they are in street parking. Car drivers will have more options, the competition will increase adoption rates, and parking garages will be less dependent on one payment processor.
Increased competition between mobile parking applications creates a beneficial environment for both cities and parking garage owners. We encourage cities and parking garage owners to provide their consumers with an opportunity to pay with their favorite parking app or give them different options to choose from. It has been proven to increase sales and accelerate digitalization. Cities can save on unnecessary parking management costs and consumers are happy as they are free to use the app they are familiar with.
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