The Cherwell District Council recognises the importance of its car parking service to both the vitality of its urban centres, as a Council service in its own right, and the contribution of it to customer satisfaction.
The current service is using ageing equipment which does not provide the best, nor modern, car parking service. Therefore, it has undertaken a procurement exercise which involves replacing all car parking equipment, changing some car parks to pay on exit, and to offer a better more flexible service to customers.
APCOA have been appointed to supply the new equipment and to operate and administer the car parks for the next five years. APCOA are an established provider with national experience of operating council and private parking facilities.
The Council will fund all costs associated with the new equipment up to £500,000 as it is cheaper for it to do so and will own the equipment at the end of the contract term.
Some car parks will have a pay on exit arrangement where physical layout permits to improve the efficiency of the operation. In Bicester, the Cattle Market car park will operate as a pay on exit facility. Meanwhile, other car parks will be monitored more efficiently using ANPR technology.
No tariff changes are proposed in 2017/18 due to the limited data available at present from the current ageing technology. The new technology will provide a data rich position. As a result, after the first contract year it is proposed to consider in a more informed way the potential for potential tariff improvements.
Improved customer payment options – currently customers have two payment options for parking: they can pay using coins at the machine, or pay by phone. By replacing the current ticket machine stock with the new technology ticket machines, customers will be able to pay at the machine using the following options:
Improved payment flexibility – by phone or online to include additional parking time without returning to the car park for an extended stay, an extended period of grace for payment where customers will be able to pay up to the end of the day after they leave the car park without incurring a fine for any unpaid car parking charges.
All parking bays will be available for free disabled use where the designated disabled parking bays are full.
The pay on exit car parks will allow customers to only pay for the time they actually parked.
Free parking for Small Business Saturday on the first Saturday in December, and ‘Free After Three’ for a month to be specified is a contract requirement each year.
The improvements will be introduced in 2 phases. The first phase will involve APCOA taking on the administration and operation of the car parks on an “as is” basis while the new equipment is delivered, installed, and configured. Customers will see the service improvements progress as the new car parking equipment is installed, which is planned to commence during August 2017.