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Westfield’s new Plan, Park, Go car park technology was launched in 2014 at the Westfield Miranda branch in Sydney. It operates on a ticketless parking system via Licence Plate recognition. Upon entry to the car park, a digital clock displays the driver’s time of entry. Shoppers are required to remember their time of entry as no printed ticket is issued upon entry.
Once shoppers have completed their shopping, they can drive directly to the exit of the car park. If they have completed their shopping in under 3 hours, the parking rate is free and the boom-gate will automatically open. If however they have visited Westfield for more than 3 hours, they can simply enter their licence plate number at one of the pay stations and pay the parking fee. The boom-gate will then recognise the payment in conjunction with the licence plate number and the boom-gate will open.
Alternatively, shoppers can also register online at www.parkwestfield.com.au to have the parking fee automatically deducted from their credit card. By registering for this online service, shoppers can choose to receive a free SMS notification that indicates the time of entry to the car park.
While this technology has been praised for its innovation and efficiency, many shoppers are also protesting against the extremely high rates. The Westfield in Sydney’s Bondi Junction charges up to $10 an hour, after an initial two hour free parking period. Shoppers have argued that they would rather travel further to shop at a different centre where the parking rates are lower. The streamlined advancements of the ticket-free system seems to remain a lower priority to customers compared to the burdensome parking fare.
We will continue to investigate shopping centre trends of the future and keep you updated on what works and what doesn’t. While convenience and ease of shopping are important to most shoppers, it appears that the majority of shoppers will still forfeit these conveniences if the cost is too high.
We’d love to hear your comments of various shopping centre car parks. What works? What doesn’t? Tell us on our Facebook page.