T2’s Flexible Solutions Help EasyPark Provide Convenient Parking for All
Founded in 1948 by a small group of visionary merchants in Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, EasyPark has evolved into one of the premier parking facility management companies in North America. EasyPark carries out its mission to “provide safe, clean, friendly, convenient, and affordable parking to the Greater Vancouver community” by operating 150-plus parking facilities – from surface lots to multi-story parkades – for over 60 clients, the largest of which is the City of Vancouver. As the City’s sole off-street parking provider, EasyPark is committed to the advancement and vitality of Greater Vancouver through innovation, sustainability, and top-notch customer service.
One of the biggest challenges with having such a large and diverse client base is finding a solution that is flexible enough to cater to a wide variety of customers and use cases. Vancouver’s Financial District has primarily long-term business parkers that come in at 8 in the morning and leave at 5 PM. Retail areas have customers that park throughout the day for varying lengths of time, while the high-end retail businesses receive additional high-touch customer service offerings. Event centers and entertainment districts, such as Granville Island, see a lot of tourists and visitors who may not be familiar with how to find or pay for parking.
T2 has been a partner to EasyPark since 2012, and has been able to provide the flexibility EasyPark needs.
EasyPark utilizes a pay-by-plate model for all of its parking facilities. Payments are accepted at a T2 Luke II or Luke Cosmo Pay Station, or customers can utilize EasyPark’s mobile payment app, which integrates seamlessly into the T2 ecosystem. Enforcement is conducted with mobile LPR and T2’s Mobile Enforcement App, which enables enforcement officers to check plates for payment, log violations like parking in an illegal area, generate tickets, and more, all from their handheld devices.
“Very early on T2 was able to provide a pay-by-plate solution, and that’s how we went,” said Gary Khor, EasyPark Vice President of Information Technology. “Pay-by-plate was great because we were then able to integrate the plate information with the enforcement system, so it was very precise and very clear.”
EasyPark also manages monthly permitted parking for the City of Vancouver and several private clients. They use the T2 Flex software platform to offer virtual permits, where the license plate is the credential, making it easy for officers to enforce both permitted and transient parking in the same facility. Officers simply scan the license plates with mobile LPR and are able to identify whether a vehicle has a valid permit or has paid for parking, while everything is uploaded to the cloud on the back end.
For monthly permit sales, as well as citation payments and appeals, EasyPark utilizes T2 FlexPort, a modern and mobile-friendly online portal. FlexPort allows customers to purchase a permit or manage a citation from anywhere on a smartphone, tablet, or computer, while seamlessly integrating with T2 Flex on the back end.
Utilizing T2 solutions in its pay-by-plate model has helped EasyPark live up to its name and make parking in Vancouver as convenient and seamless as possible, whether through easy-to-use pay stations, completely contactless facilities, or simple online citation payments and appeals. Additionally, T2 has helped EasyPark make enforcement seamless for its staff. The T2 Mobile Enforcement app has been “a straightforward solution,” according to Khor, that is “easy to learn from the enforcement officers’ perspective.”
EasyPark has had a lot of success using T2 Luke II and Luke Cosmo Pay Stations. One of the key benefits they have experienced over the years is the flexibility of the rate engine in T2 Iris, the backend software used to manage Luke Pay Stations. Iris features six different rate types and the ability to offer discounted or free parking sessions, enabling EasyPark to meet a variety of requirements from its diverse client base. “Our parking lots are multi-use at different times of day, so we are able to provide more granular rates for the client and to the customers, which is great,” Khor said. Plus, rates can be changed in Iris and pushed out to the pay stations through the cloud, limiting physical contact with the pay stations and saving time and effort for EasyPark staff.
“Very early on T2 was able to provide a pay-by-plate solution, and that’s how we went.”
Gary Khor, Vice President of Information Technology
EasyPark has also had success using T2 Pay Stations’ coupon code functionality, specifically with Vancouver Public Schools. During school hours parking is reserved for students and staff, but from 4 PM until the next morning the lots automatically open up for paid parking. However, if the school is having an event outside of school hours and wants to validate parking for attendees, EasyPark is able to easily program coupon codes into the pay stations, which the school can then provide to their customers to validate their parking.
Further, EasyPark has been able to fulfill the “safe parking” component of its mission via customizable messaging on T2 Pay Stations’ digital screens. EasyPark has worked with the Vancouver Police Department to add safety messaging to the pay stations, such as reminding people not to leave valuables in their vehicle, and has recently utilized the screens to display Covid-19-related messaging. Additionally, EasyPark partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving for the 2019 holiday season on a campaign to encourage people not to drive while intoxicated. In addition to adding messaging to the pay station screens, EasyPark was able to change the rate structure on the meters to allow customers to purchase parking overnight and pick their car up the next day.
Lastly, “T2 has been very open and forward-thinking in terms of integration with different partners of ours,” Khor stated. From mobile payment providers to its mobile LPR system to a data analytics platform, EasyPark has been able to easily integrate all of its parking solutions with T2, which Khor says has not necessarily been the case with other vendors. “T2 believes in the benefits for the industry by sharing information and capabilities.”
“From the early onset many years ago, we’ve pushed and we’ve preached that pay-by-plate is the way to go,” Khor stated. Khor recommends pay-by-plate not just because of the simplicity – “If your plates are not in, you didn’t pay. If your plates are in, you’re good.” – but also because it can eliminate revenue loss from customers swapping or sharing tickets.
Khor also urged any parking operation to “reach out to T2 if you have a challenge, if you have something that you want to work through, or if you need some specific solution to fix a problem. T2 has a large community. T2 is used by a lot of municipalities, a lot of universities, and a lot of operators too, so that’s a lot of experience and scenarios that a variety of different people have come across. There’s always a solution for the problem.”