In a bid to ease congestion, improve air quality and create safer living and working environments for the local community, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), has been striving to develop Mobility as a Service (MaaS).
Now, following a partnership with Cammax that has led to the rollout of a hybrid parking payment system at Bromsgove railway station, TfWM are one step closer to fulfilling that ambition.
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) refers to the integration of various forms of transport services into a single mobility service that is accessible on demand. To meet a customer’s request, a MaaS operator needs to facilitate a wide range of transport options, be they public transport, ride-, car- or bike-sharing, or a combination thereof. For the user, MaaS offers added value thanks to the use of a single application to provide access to mobility, with a single payment channel instead of multiple ticketing and payment operations.
As part of the drive to develop MaaS, one of the key objectives for TfWM has always been to provide customers with the option of paying for parking with their ‘Swift’ cards. Swift is an electronic ticketing scheme developed by TfWM for use on public transport in the West Midlands, similar to the Oyster card in Greater London.
However, in order to meet that objective, TfWM needed a parking system innovator willing to invest in the development of a hybrid parking payment system that could not only cater for cash, card and contactless paying customers, but also for Swift customers too.
As a specialist provider of SMART ticket vending machines (TVMs) Cammax was ideally placed to help TfWM realise its goal of combining these elements to form the first Swift parking payment system.
Planning, Integration & Benefits
Cammax approached this challenge knowing that it had the skills, experience and expertise in developing both SMART ticketing and parking payment solutions. However, combining the two together in a system that facilitated complex SMART ticketing products, along with common parking products such as pay-and-display tariffs and multi-day rate tariffs, required a strict level of planning.
The project requirements dictated that the system needed to be fully integrated with TfWM’s host operator processing service (HOPS), the provider for the purpose of managing Swift card transactions. The system also needed to allow customers to enter their vehicle registration number (VRN), select their parking product, and pay using their preferred payment method, whether that be Swift pay as you go (PAYG) card, cash, ApplePay/AndroidPay, or contactless card payment.
One of the many benefits for customers using this intuitive system is that they will be able to access instant cost savings. In the long term, the most sustainable travel option will emerge, and travellers can rest assured that they are always getting the best-value product thanks to account-based capping.
As part of the system, Swift PAYG users will also be rewarded with a discounted tariff that allows them to make savings on their parking.
Data to enhance performance
In addition to speeding up the transaction process and enabling customers to pay via a variety of different methods, the hybrid system also enables TfWM to view instant performance metrics and management reporting via the back office, which can be accessed from any mobile or desktop device.
As an added feature, enforcement officers are also able to check parked vehicles against the VRNs that the system captures.
This visibility is helping TfWM build a better understanding of the people using its car parks, how they are paying, and how often Swift tariffs are being used. The new data is helping TfWM fill in the blanks because they are now able to extract far more detail about overall user journeys, from parking a vehicle to onward transit, return travel and vehicles re-entering the transport network.
All of this information is tracked by the Swift card-tap trail across the network.
Bromsgrove Railway Station
Park and ride commuters using Bromsgrove railway station car park will be the first to be able to use their Swift travel cards to pay for parking, with Swift parking set to be rolled out at different locations across the West Midlands region in the near future.
Cllr Ken Pollock, cabinet member for economy and infrastructure for Worcestershire County Council, said: ‘This is great for commuters in Bromsgrove who now have more convenient ways to pay for their parking and can use the same card on buses, trains and trams.’
Laura Shoaf, managing director of TfWM, said: ‘We are now looking to introduce Swift parking at more locations. We want to use Swift to make travel easier, quicker and better value for money.’
To find out more about our latest project with TfWM you can view the case study here.