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Open Parking opens for business
Published:  29 September, 2014

Imperial Civil Enforcement Solutions (ICES), which specialises in enforcement and processing services for on and off-street parking, has formed a new dedicated parking company, Open Parking, headed by the current president of the British Parking Association

The new operation has been developed to provide tailored management solutions for parking facilities at shopping centres and retail parks as well as at hospitals, universities, leisure centres, transport hubs, and large residential and office blocks. 

“Effective parking management is no longer just a case of instruction, signage and enforcement,” says Ashley Bijster, managing director of ICES and the new president of the British Parking Association. 

“Today, providing drivers with support and encouragement and easy and convenient parking options is absolutely essential for delivering a positive customer experience. That’s why we’ve used our 20 years’ experience in parking services to develop a fresh approach to parking management that has as much to do with safety, security and customer experience as it has with efficient, reliable and responsive management of parking facilities. 

“And, judging by the reaction of our clients in the retail sector, the vision and objectives of Open Parking to deliver a much more customer-friendly service certainly resonate with their commercial and service objectives,” Bijster says. 

Open Parking offers a versatile range of services that are easily tailored to suit the specific requirements and priorities of individual venues – from on-site uniformed attendants to design advice, maintenance and full facilities management. 

Significantly, the new operation will be providing a fresh alternative to parking management – its emphasis will be on customer self–service and using technology to help customers find, pay and manage their parking experience more conveniently and more effectively. 

The Open Parking approach will be to focus on the use of the latest technologies to enhance the experience of customers in order to drive up compliance, rather than being preoccupied with revenue generation by catching and penalising offenders and maximising the number of parking tickets issued. 

This is especially important for visitor venues – like retail parks and shopping malls – where there is a collective desire to maintain high levels of customer service throughout the customer journey in order to maximise loyalty and return visits. Open Parking will work in partnership with relevant third parties to develop and deliver best practice and tailored enforcement solutions – supporting clients’ existing security staff, providing uniformed patrols or harnessing the latest ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) technologies.     

Every solution will be integrated with ICES’ extensive back office processing and support services, including the company’s dedicated consultancy operation, Business Processing Unit and Training Academy. And Open Parking’s 

clients will benefit from developments in software, CCTV, GPS and handheld technologies as well as the company’s fully integrated virtual permits and its dedicated cashless parking solution. 

“I think there’s a need for an alternative car park operator,” says Bijster. “We need to get people into the shops but often there are parking systems in place that make that difficult. We use technology to make parking easier – it’s not about enforcement but about hassle-free pay-compliance and a focus on the customer experience that reflects the level of service visitors get in the rest of the centre. We want to position ourselves as the friendly face of parking.”   

“When people go to shop they don’t want to be worried about having to rush back to the car or risk getting a parking ticket,” she adds. “We want to move away from that and allow people the flexibility to park for as long as they need to so they can relax, have a nice time and spend money.”

Open Parking is a Member of the British Parking Association, conforms to the DVLA Code of Practice and is registered with the BPA’s Approved Operators Scheme. It is in discussion with a number of car park owners and the first tranche of sites will go live in the next few months.