From Australia — Yes, these folks deal primarily in off street enforcement on private property, but the idea is the same. What do you want, compliance or the revenue:
It is with interest that I read your ‘Point of View’ article in Parking Today October issue. I would say that our Australian experience has also proven you correct! Secure Parking has been using the warning philosophy and has had some dramatic results. We have found that taking a more lenient empathetic attitude may not result in as many infringements but our aim is to get compliance without antagonizing customers. We too have found that the carrot/warning/fairness application has resulted in more parkers following the rules more readily.
As background, Secure Parking has a business division that provides compliance and patrol services to smaller privately owned car parks such as shopping centres, business parks, office complex etc. This area of the parking industry has frequently had major problems in the manner of issuing infringements and the methodology used in collecting the infringement fees.
Having been in the parking industry for 40 years and having grown to be the largest parking operator in the Australian community we were very conscious and concerned that a move into this area of the parking business, if not done with consideration and empathy, could damage the businesses credibility and undo all the effort we put into developing the Secure Parking brand.
Many of the parkers who were abusing the private parking offered by landowners were also often customers of the landowners tenants so we had to ensure that any action we took would recognise that their relationship with their customers was paramount
After consultation with the client landowners we have adopted a specific ‘Code of Practice’ (CoP) that dictates how we operate in this volatile and sensitive arena. Some of the salient points of our CoP are
‘Education – Cl 4.5. When Secure begin to manage/patrol a new car park, as part of our commitment to education, there will be a reasonable period, not exceeding 2 weeks, when drivers are provided information on the operation of the car park and possible enforcement activity; during this period no breach notices will be issued, but advice that enforcement activity will commence in due course, may be distributed.’
We have found that this warning phase allows those parkers who are taking advantage of the car park to relocate with the least angst caused to all parties.
‘Fairness – A breach notice will never be issued in the following circumstances, Cl 6.2.3. vehicles that have complied with the terms and conditions of the car park, including the allowance for a 15 minute grace period.
We have found that this grace period indicates to parkers that although we expect compliance to the Terms we are not predatory and understand that sometimes circumstances arise to delay their return to the vehicle on time. Good PR
“Objective – To guarantee there will always be parking spots for genuine customers whilst ensuring that no genuine customer will be disadvantaged’
We waive any infringement that is appealed if it is accompanied with a receipt from a tenant of the car park in which they received the infringement.
The industry is in a time of change, we as parking operators need to recognize this and develop business models that are consistent with the changes and recognize that all participants whether they are the parking operators, car park owners or the parkers themselves have rights to be considered.
Your warning views were ahead of the times, our experience certainly backs your view.
NSW/ACT Business Development
Secure Parking Pty Ltd.
North Sydney, Australia