Gadget could make parking wheely easy
Handy device means drivers can pre-pay and only shell out for the time they are stopped
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 10:02 AM
Drivers who never remember to keep change for the parking meter will be impressed by a handy new pre-paid system.
You can buy and top-up Easypark units from gas stations and stores across the island. A full list is available at www.easypark.bm
The device costs $35 to buy. There is a minimum top-up of $20 and a maximum of $100. A four per cent fee is charged every time you top up.
For more information about Easypark, visit www.easypark.bm or e-mail email@example.com
EasyPark is launching in Bermuda as an alternative to traditional pay-and-display vouchers and ticket machines.
Motorists simply buy the small and portable "in-vehicle parking meter" and load it with credit to pay for parking, much in the same way you would top up a pre-pay cellphone.
You can use it for on-street parking in voucher zones and pay-and-display car parks across Hamilton.
The system means you don't have to hunt for change for the meter, remember to buy parking vouchers or be left with a pile of discarded tickets on your dashboard, which is also good news for the environment.
And you only pay for the time you park, so the device will save you cash.
You can buy credit at gas stations and stores across the island, including the Esso Tiger Markets in Warwick and Collector's Hill and at Bermuda Book Store.
Customers can also get reports of parking history, violations and receipts from reloading stations or online.
I tried out the device to see how easy it was to use.
I always forget to buy parking vouchers and rarely have coins to hand for meters, so it definitely appealed.
But I will have to remember to top it up - although I can easily do that when getting gas.
You will also soon be able to top-up at Miles Market, so you can reload when getting groceries, too.
After loading it with the minimum $20 of credit at the BIU Esso gas station in Dundonald St, I headed to town to do some shopping and luckily found a space on the street quickly.
I turned on my EasyPark unit, which is really simple to use and has instructions on the back.
It told me how much credit I had and I simply had to select the area code and zone code for where I had parked, which are on the back of the unit.
It varies depending on if you are parking on the street, one of Hamilton's parking lots or at the airport. After 10 seconds, the unit is activated and you are paying for parking.
All you have to do is hang it facing outwards on the kerbside window so parking attendants can see it. The device displays the area code, zone code, date and time so they can easily see you have pre-paid.
After a quick trip to Gibbons and the Phoenix, I returned to my car and turned the device off. I was only charged for the 20 minutes I had parked rather than the $1.70 per hour a parking voucher would have cost.
And don't worry about forgetting to turn the device off, it emits a beep when activated.
However, while you only pay for the time you park in certain zones, car parks with a minimum fee, like Elliot Street, still require this charge using EsyPark.
The device is proving a big hit with drivers.
EasyPark have sold 1000 units since launching last month.
Company owner Norris Ebbin said: "Feedback has been pretty positive - people have embraced it.
"Bermuda is the first place to get EasyPark in the North America area.
"We worked with the authorities and parking wardens to get the system right and incorporated all their suggestions.
"We're happy with how it has progressed so far. EasyPark is used in Europe and Israel and is successful. I'm sure it will be here too."