Residents and visitors in the City of York can now pay for parking via their mobile thanks to a new payment system implemented by O2 and Verrus, the developer of parking payment systems. The next generation system allows all motorists – for the first time – to use the service without an in-car device or the need to pre-register. Drivers can now easily pay for parking by calling, and soon by text message, to a dedicated number which details the location, the registration number and the duration for which they wish the parking session to last. Parking sessions can be extended remotely by making another call or sending a request text. The system also offers text reminders that the session is about to expire, helping customers to avoid penalty fines. Registration occurs at the time of initial payment and users can then manage their account online, obtaining information about payments, print receipts and add new vehicles as required. The solution benefits, not only drivers, but also the City of York Council. Parking attendants can easily gain access to up-to-date information on, customer parking details on Blackberry 7290 devices from O2. GPRS enabled, the device can access all necessary information on vehicles in the local area to monitor parking more effectively. “Apart from being a highly cost-effective solution, the O2 and Verrus system was installed in a matter of weeks and we have already seen the benefits,” says Peter Evely, Head of Network at City of York Council. “Both motorists and our patrollers find it easy to use. The system really has streamlined parking operations and made them more efficient. It has also brought with it, many advantages that both residents and visitors to York will enjoy, such as removing the need to interrupt valuable leisure time to run back to the car park to top-up a parking session – this can now be done from wherever you are in the city.” The new system bypasses many of the common problems in implementing credit card payment systems for parking, which frequently involved protracted delays by banks and card processors to introduce and support the system. The City of York Council was also concerned over costs associated with a fixed Pay on Exit system and its practical operations. O2’s partnership with Verrus has allayed these concerns providing a solution that is flexible and scalable, ensuring that it can grow to meet future requirements. “One of the major benefits of the Verrus system is that motorists do not have to pre-register and wait for a device or card to arrive in the post before they can use the system. This was particularly important for a city like York, which receives four million tourists a year,” commented Robin Bevan, CEO of Verrus UK Ltd. “The first time a customer calls the advertised number, they enter their registration details through Verrus’ touch-tone system and can pay for their parking on the same call. On subsequent calls they only need enter their length of stay and a four digit location number.” Ben Dowd, General Manager Business Sales at O2 said: “The new system is an excellent example of where O2 is partnering with the best in business to provide mobility solutions that not only allows local government to realise efficiency gains, but also results in better services for the people they serve. We are delighted to be working City of York Council with Verrus on this project.