Between the times of 9:30am and 3pm, you might be able to breathe in the streets of Cape Town’s CBD – any earlier than 9:30am or later than 3pm, you may just find yourself in some nasty traffic. Being the most traffic-congested city in the country, according to the TomTom Traffic Index 2017, Cape Town actually has the most advanced parking system in the world.
Well, that’s according to Zunade Loghdey, owner of Street Parking Solutions (SPS), which processes 15 000 parking-related transactions per day in the city’s central business district. SPS has now launched the very first parking app in Africa – Parkfind, available on both iOS and Android. The app relieves drivers of having to circle blocks looking for an empty spot. The app, using an in-car navigation system, guides drivers to open parking bays around the city.
Each of the Cape Town CBD’s 2000 kerbside bays is fitted with a sensor in the ground, which detects when a vehicle arrives and leaves the bay. “Every minute the status of a bay is updated. You can really only do this in real time if you’ve invested in the infrastructure and know how to manage it. We are the only company on the continent that knows how to install these sensors and calibrate them” Loghdey says.
It took two years to develop the app and guides drivers to open parking bays represented by different colours. Each parking area in the CBD is represented by a red, orange or green pin denoting availability based on the percentage of open parking bays in the area. Rather than guiding drivers to a particular parking bay, the app will recommend a zone where drivers are likely to find parking.
Users sign up using their registration number and email address, and select their preferred payment method. Their session will start once they enter the parking bay and payment is made when they exit the bay.
“We’re unable to bypass the parking marshal but what we have done is create an efficiency in that you can pay and tell the parking marshal that you’ve paid, and not have to interact with them using cash or a card, or wait for them to conclude a transaction with another customer,” says SPS operations manager, Josh Lindenberg.
The app allows you to pay with cash, credit card and Snapscan. What’s more is that the company has linked up with various corporate loyalty programmes so that those customers may use their rewards points to pay for parking.
“How many people are able to clock up enough SAA Voyager miles to buy a ticket to Johannesburg? Forget London! It’s a very small percentage. Now you can actually use your Voyager points,” says Loghdey.