Do barriers block the way to hassle-free parking?
When you first think about good car park management and controlling entry onto your property, you’re likely to consider barriers.
They seem like the perfect solution: a gate in front of your car park that stops any unwanted, unauthorised cars from entering.
Or, for those who do enter and use your car park, it’s a guaranteed way to ensure users pay what they owe before they leave.
But rarely do car park barriers work that simply.
What is the main issue businesses face when using barriers?
The first thing to remember if you decide to use a barrier for car park management is that it’s a type of machinery. It’s got working parts. Working parts can break.
Along with the installation costs for barriers (typically one barrier into the car park and one barrier out – rather than just a single barrier), you also need to consider the maintenance fees. This can vary greatly depending on the type of system you have and its complexity (e.g. card payments at the barrier, tokens, paper tickets etc.)
You’ll most likely pay this maintenance fee monthly, in order to ensure you have round the clock support should your car park barriers break down.
And you’ll almost certainly know from experience that there’s a good chance a car park you visit will have a barrier that isn’t working correctly.
What happens when barriers break?
If something does go wrong, and you don’t pay maintenance fees, you’ll lose all control or controlling entry and exit. Your choices are:
- Leave the barrier closed and prevent anyone using your car park
- Leave the barrier open and essentially open the door to unauthorised parking
- Task staff with opening and closing the barrier manually
None of these options are good. Leaving the barrier either closed or open indefinitely will cause you to lose revenue. You’ll either lose or have to refund the payments made by regular, authorised users of your car park, or you’ll be opening it up to free use by everyone and won’t take any money.
If you manage to staff the barrier manually, you’ll have costs associated with that personnel – either additionally or via lost productivity elsewhere in the business.
What’s the problem if barriers work correctly?
Broken technology or mechanics isn’t the only problem associated with car park barriers.
Even if your barriers work 100% of the time, you’ll probably find there are still general user problems. Because regardless of how much signage you put up, there will inevitably be people who fail to understand the instructions or use the machine correctly. They will get stuck at the barrier.
When they do, they need help – to either use the machine, or pay correctly, or be let out free of charge. If help doesn’t arrive quickly, it can quickly cause a backlog of vehicles wanting to leave.
So for effective car park management, you need to have a member of staff monitoring the barriers at all times. They need to be able to respond to a call from the barrier when a car is having difficulties and be able to deal with the problem.
What is the alternative to barriers?
Good car park management isn’t about putting up barriers. It’s about removing them.
They aren’t needed to secure your car park, prevent unauthorised users and generate revenue. And they can cause you more hassle and more problems.
Instead, Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology could be just the solution you need for your car park management.
ANPR systems provide the following benefits:
- Prevent unauthorised usage
- Ensure spaces are available for your customers
- Streamline parking payments
- Reduce staff and admin time
- Maximise your car park usage
Need a helping hand?
Replace a car park barrier with ANPR technology and you’ll be improving access in and out of your car park – whilst still managing usage. You can facilitate all the usual payments and automate charges for those unauthorised or overstaying users.
Want to learn more about removing barriers to improve your car park management? Speak with our expert team by clicking here.