Two years into the COVID pandemic and in many Australian cities, people are returning to their lives while doing their best to avoid contracting the virus. We take a look at how COVID has changed the way in which we get around our cities and how parking operators can meet the needs of drivers in a COVID-normal world.
Car travel, and therefore parking, is experiencing a COVID-induced surge in popularity. Data from cities across the world shows that, as COVID restrictions ease, people are opting to travel by car because they are wary about catching the virus on public transport, and that’s what we’re seeing in Australian cities, too.
An online survey conducted by toll road operator Transurban in July last year found that, on average, 22 per cent fewer people in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane intended to use public transport every day after COVID, compared to their pre-pandemic use. And, now that COVID-normal life is well underway in those cities, the numbers show that’s exactly what’s happening.
Mobility data from Apple shows that as soon as COVID restrictions began to lift in Sydney in October 2021, car journeys spiked, while walking and public transport trips remained below the January 2020 baseline figures. By January 2022, public transport usage in Sydney was still almost 64 per cent lower than it was pre-COVID.
In Melbourne, road traffic was at 81 per cent of pre-pandemic levels by mid-January 2022, in contrast with public transport usage, which was only at 36 per cent of its pre-COVID baseline numbers. Road toll data, meanwhile, shows that car use has risen even in cities that haven’t experienced extended lockdowns, like Brisbane.
This increase in car use has naturally led to a spike in demand for parking. Parking operators were reporting increases in demand of more than 200 per cent in January 2022, while, in a sign of just how highly valued parking has become, a parking space in central Sydney has been listed for sale for more than $500,000.
So, how can parking operators best meet the needs of this surge of COVID-savvy drivers?
The reason why people are eschewing public transport in favour of car travel is to minimise their exposure to COVID, so their choice of parking needs to be as COVID-safe as possible too. Research has shown that public health measures, such as social distancing and minimising shared touchpoints, can help reduce the spread of COVID. That’s where contactless parking payments systems come into their own. They eliminate the need for paper pull-tickets, cash payments, the presence of staff in the car park, and in some cases, any friction points at all, making them the most hygienic parking management systems on offer.
DIVVY offers three contactless parking solutions to suit all types of car parks and parking operators. Our public parking management systems, the pre-book system DIVVY Marketplace and the casual parking product Drive Up, are completely cashless.
DIVVY Marketplace collects payment via the DIVVY app, while Drive Up’s payment device technology accepts VISA, Mastercard, AMEX, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay at the car park entry or exit. Our staff and visitor parking management software, which has paid parking capabilities for those businesses who want to charge their staff for parking, is also cashless and only accepts electronic payments. Cash use, which has been steadily declining here in Australia for some time now, has dropped significantly since the start of the pandemic due to hygiene concerns, with the CBA predicting the nation could be completely cashless as soon as 2026.
Not only are our parking systems cashless, doing away with the need for cash payment machines, but none of our smart parking management systems uses paper pull-tickets either, thus further reducing the number of physical touchpoints in the driver’s journey.
Our parking solutions become completely frictionless with the integration of the DIVVY LPR solution, which uses licence plate recognition technology to calculate the duration of stay. The DIVVY LPR solution eliminates every physical touchpoint in the parking journey, making it the most hygienic, COVID-safe way to park.
Whether you’re looking for contactless parking payment systems for your public car park or your staff and visitor parking, we can help. Get in touch with our friendly sales team to discuss your parking needs today.