Why we should embrace paid parking
Few people are familiar with the added value of deploying the right parking tariff strategy. There appears to be much negative public opinion about paying for parking, although a customer survey we conducted in 2014 shows that most of our customers are very aware of the principle of paid parking.
Setting the right price
- Profit - to ensure sustainable financial performance
- Added value– to integrate mobility and other essential urban needs
- Proactive approach – to enhance fair pricing for commuters, residents, people parking for short periods, and our partners
We need to find the perfect balance between price and demand. We work on the principle that it is unfavourable for an urban area if the occupancy rate of a parking facility exceeds 85%. Not having to queue to enter a parking facility is more economical for all involved; it is safer for cyclists and pedestrians, and better for the environment.
We aim to have a variety of parking/price combinations available for our customers to consider. For instance: highly valued and high-priced parking within 300 metres of their final destination, reasonable priced parking slightly further away, and smart parking within a healthy walking distance.
Price differentiation enables us to benefit certain groups over others. For example, at shopping centres the cheaper rates for the first two or three hours favour shoppers rather than commuters, but at train stations, the daily tariff favours commuters.
We gain insight into the impact of various pricing strategy options by using proprietary calculation models. For example; our educational calculation model provides clear insight into why EUR 0.50 per fifteen minutes is, from an operator 's perspective, not the same as EUR 2 per hour.
Strategic pricing for busy city centres
The strategic ring pricing for motorists introduced by the city of Maastricht has the desired effect. An evaluation conducted by Q-Park and the city of Maastricht, based on the number of visitors to our parking facilities, showed that high parking tariffs act as a deterrent, especially if there are cheaper alternatives within walking distance.
Strategic ring pricing has led to the intended shift of motorists to the outskirts of the city. Since its introduction early in 2014, the number of people parking in the Vrijthofgarage [situated in the heart of Maastricht] has decreased by 9 percent compared to 2013. On the outskirts there has been an increase, rising to 15 percent. The total number of customers and the average parking time remain unchanged.
Ring structure pricing was introduced for all parking tariffs in Q-Park's parking facilities. Rates for the four most central car parks (Vrijthof, Onze Lieve Vrouweplein, Bassin and MosaeForum) were increased; rates for parking facilities and areas outside the city centre were reduced.
The purpose of this model is to promote parking on the outskirts of the city to prevent traffic congestion from motorists looking for a place to park in the city centre. In this way, the municipality wants to improve accessibility, quality of life and safety in the centre. In addition, the model offers visitors greater choice regarding price when looking for a parking space.
In ring A, the most popular facility (Vrijthof) where the parking fee has increased the most, the number of customers declined signifantly. In ring B (Mosae Forum, Onze Lieve Vrouweplein and Bassin), the number of visitors declined slightly. In rings C and D the number of motorists increased signifantly.
In all rings, including A and B, the average length of stay has remained unchanged. This means that visitors stay just as long in the city centre. Also, the total number of visitors and revenue from on-street parking have remained unchanged.