Just text for a park

By Susan Edmunds

Hamish Dobbie hopes his parking system will soon catch on. Photo / Doug Sherring
Hamish Dobbie hopes his parking system will soon catch on. Photo / Doug Sherring

Getting caught out by a parking warden when a meeting runs longer than expected could be a thing of the past if Hamish Dobbie gets his way.

The Auckland entrepreneur's software business, Dobsol, has developed a text parking system, RentaPark, that does not require a parking machine.

Drivers who park in a spot that offers the service text a code, and sometimes their registration plate, to the system's number. That information is relayed to the carpark owner, who then knows who has paid for which parks and for what amount of time.

Dobbie has talked to councils, carpark operators and universities interested in using the system.

He said several councils had expressed interest but for some it was another option to offer rather than a replacement for existing machines.

"RentaPark is ideal for councils with older technology. By implementing RentaPark they can offer new technology and an alternative payment option, with minimal capital investment."

Dobbie said the system had taken a while to develop because of the contracts and negotiations required with telecommunications companies such as 2degrees, Vodafone and Telecom.

The system would run on the existing txt-a-park platform that operates through parking machines.

Dobbie said users would use it in the same way. The cost of parking would be either added to their phone bill or deducted from their prepaid balance.

The only difference would be they would not need a printed ticket from a machine. Cloud-based software would collate information for carpark owners, so they could monitor which cars were parked illegally. The software could be accessed on smartphones or on their existing devices or through a website.

When the parking paid for was about to run out, the owners of the cars would get a warning text. They could opt to renew the parking for another term, or not.

"You can do it if you're stuck in a meeting or can't get back to the car," Dobbie said.

It would save carpark owners and councils money because they would not have to pay for machines, receipts and vandalism. His company would provide signs to carparks detailing the code to text to book the parking.

- Herald on Sunday

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