Sunday, July 5, 2009

Praise Where Praise Is Due

Having recently cast aspersions on Dublin City Council's bike rental initiative, let me also give praise where praise is due. I have recently signed up to the Council's mobile Parking Tag service, operated by Payzone. You first register your mobile phone number, car registration and credit card details. Then they send you a small barcode sticker for your windscreen and thereafter, whenever you park in the city centre, you simply send a short text to Parking Tag that includes the zone you are in (colour coded) and the number of minutes you want to stay. No need to feed the meter ever again.

This is a godsend to me since I never have enough coins for the meter (especially on days when I have two or more meetings in different parts of the city centre). And it also means I don't have to use the awful MPark service anymore, which is being phased out at the end of this month anyway (awful because the meters were out of order at least 50% of the time in my experience).

I've already used the service several times and it works flawlessly. Whenever you text your parking details to Parking Tag you get a text message reply noting when your time is up. They even send you a text 10 minutes before your time is up just as a reminder. This is one of those technology-driven advances that really does make life a lot easier and a great deal less stressful.

I'm with Kevin Kelly - the smartest commentator on big picture technological trends on the planet - when he observes that:
In our ceaseless collective generation of new technologies, we technology boosters can invent more appropriate tools for minimalism, even though they are not doing that for us. Nonetheless, the Amish and minimites have something important to teach us about selecting what we embrace. I don't want a lot of devices that add maintenance chores to my life without adding real benefits. I do want to be slow to embrace technology that I can back out of. I don't want stuff that closes off options to others (like weapons). And I do want the minimum because I've learned that I have limited time or attention.

I think I can put it this way: What we are seeking is the minimum amount of technology that will generate the maximum number of options for all.

Parking Tag is just that: an ideal combination of technological simplicity, efficiency and liberty. Well done.

3 comments:

  1. Worth noting that the gardai now operate several cars which tour the city and electronically scan autos for expired NCT and insurance.
    As well, there are cars going throughout the city taking photos of illegally parked cars and sending the registered owners tickets (for EUR 40 on up) in the mail, weeks after you’ve forgotten you were there…if indeed you were.

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  2. Hi. It is worth noting that the parking tag systm just launched in Dublin is a direct copy of the one operating in limerick city and Cork City for a number of years and operated by Irish company ParkMagic. It is a pity that dublin held out and madetheir own version instead of joining the Irish one already opering in multiple locations.

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  3. I thought it was a great idea too and signed up. It wasn't till I realized how much extra you have to pay to use the system.
    there is a 50c monthly maintenance charge on your account.
    and if you use the sms parking facility you have to pay 20c to receive a compulsory text to remind you your parking is about to be up
    as well as the cost of sending the text in the first place

    ReplyDelete

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