Q-Park endeavours to be part of local mobility policy as well as being involved in relevant community activities such as learning to park properly and supporting local charities.
Q-Park is in favour of fair parking tariffs that contribute to the quality of life in urban areas. It is in the interest of municipalities as well as Q-Park to tune parking tariffs for different facilities and distances, such as parking on street or in car parks, and in the city centre or on the outskirts of the city. By engaging municipalities in dialogue on this matter, we want to use our expertise to make a contribution to the sustainability of cities. We seek collaboration with local authorities, so that regulated and paid parking become an integral part of urban mobility.
We are always nearby for motorists. We deploy our mobile teams in the city to ensure that customers who are in need of help get the assistance they need, and that our customers feel safe and welcome. Our Parking Hosts are proud of what they mean to our customers. They are welcoming and can make the difference for Q-Park. This also applies to our call centre employees, who are ready to answer questions and offer assistance to customers 24/7.
Every four years we measure customer satisfaction. In 2017 we will use a Customer Performance Index for this. It is a methodology that is applicable to all stakeholders and in all the countries where we operate.
What we have achieved
Awards and certifications
This year, Q-Park Germany was awarded three ADAC certificates from the Parkhaustest 2016. In total, 44 parking facilities were tested in 12 large German cities. For construction, our facilities were rated good and for signage (signs and ground marking) very clear. The broad ramps, the angled parking spaces and the pillarless construction of the parking facilities were also highlighted by the ADAC. Furthermore, Q-Park standard services such as designated parking spaces for parents with children, cashless payment and the 24-hour exit possibility were positively received.
Q-Park Ireland was the official Parking Partner for Culture Night 2016, a public event that celebrates culture, creativity and the arts. This special and unique night with workshops was free of charge to encourage people to visit more cultural venues and experience culture, and to try new things.
Medi Carpark Solutions was established in 2016. It is a collaboration between Q-Park NL, Holland Immo Group and Ten Brinke and specialises in facilitating car parks for hospitals by combining knowledge and expertise and the resources to build car parks. Parking is not part of a hospital's core business, but it is ours. The aim of this partnership is to unburden hospitals by providing a service that is essential to their business operations, but that is not one of their specialisations.
A customer survey among season-ticket holders in the UK showed that security of cars and the price of parking were the two most important factors. Our customers also indicated that a variety in payment methods are important.
- The car park itself
- Safety and cleanliness
- Customer service
- Proximity of the car park to their destination.
Overall, the results are similar to previous years.
UK season ticket customer survey
When choosing where to park, how important are....
In collaboration with the Dutch Railways, we also conducted a survey among customers of our Park+Ride car parks located at train stations. The general satisfaction score was 7.6 out of 10, which means that customers seem to be just as satisfied as in previous years. This year they were even more positive about the possibility to use their public transport chip card.
In the Netherlands, the City of Amsterdam, Q-Park and the police have joined forces in a public-private partnership to develop an integrated approach to stop car-related theft. Q-Park and the police launched a ‘pilot project’ using the new approach around Museumplein in Amsterdam. It seems to have worked: there were 25 percent fewer car break-ins compared to the same period in the previous year.
Decreasing thefts from cars in car parks
The city of Amsterdam is the Top 10 travel destination in Europe. Parked cars are increasingly a target for criminals, with 9,965 thefts from cars reported in 2015 (30 percent of which were committed in car parks).
- Cars are increasingly ‘connected’ through integrated technology (smartphones, tablets, players) and real-time interactivity (live assist, social media, interactive navigation). Hence, people perceive cars as a natural extension of their personal (living) space and as such – wrongly – as a ‘safe’ spot.
- Systematically and visibly directing attention to car theft within a defined parking zone could cause people to perceive a broader area as unsafe. This could lead to the avoidance of a city area or car parks altogether.
It is essential to convince parking customers that a car – in general – is not a safe place to stow away valuables and it is important to do this without stigmatising the area where they parked.
Combining the experience and resources of the municipality of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Police Department and Q-Park Netherlands, we addressed this problem by a combination of public space management, innovative policing tactics and a unique communication campaign.
The main purpose of the campaign was to create awareness of the risk among motorists and point out that theft from cars can be easily prevented by the customers themselves.
- A huge range of items attract car burglars, even items that you might not consider valuable.
- Hidden i.e. ‘invisible’ in the car does not mean safe and unreachable.
- Car break-ins happen faster than you can imagine, even in parking places considered ‘safe’.
- It is easy to prevent a car break-in; do not leave valuables in your car!
The number of target cities where we are actively involved in the local mobility policy has decreased compared to last year due to a recount in Ireland. But we are still in the race to meet our 2020 target of 50 percent.
Parking facilities in target cities where Q-Park is actively involved in an integral mobility policy
We are also working with the municipality of Hasselt to improve their mobility concept since we acquired a family-owned parking company in Hasselt, Belgium. We will operate the Dusartplein, Molenpoort, Parking TT (TweeTorenwijk) and Luikerpoort car parks.
In 2016, Q-Park UK formed a unique partnership with Roadchef (a motorway service area operator) to encourage safer driving by encouraging motorists to take regular breaks on longer journeys. Roadchef offers Q-Park Reward-app users an exclusive18 percent discount at all service areas so that they save money when taking a break. The partnership is a perfect fit for travelling customers who require parking once they arrive at their destination. In addition, as part of our traffic safety promotion, we collaborate with driving schools to help teach learner motorists how to manoeuvre in a car park and to raise their awareness of the consequences of their behaviour in the public space.
Parking facilities that collaborate with driving schools
Q-Park's spending for community activities in local communities increased by 23 percent to EUR 411,501, a figure based on all countries except Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom.
Spending for community activities in local communities
Q-Park Ireland sets a good example: EUR 9,500 was donated to the Mercy Hospital in Cork. In June, a further EUR 6,000 was donated to Temple Street Children’s Hospital in Dublin as part of their ongoing partnership. This brings the total donation since the creation of the partnership to EUR 25,000. To express their appreciation of the continued support, Temple Street presented Q-Park Ireland with a ‘Certificate of Appreciation’.
Transparency Benchmark ranking
Q-Park Control Room (QCR)
Q-Park is the only player in the European parking industry which offers an international help desk available 24/7 to customers. The QCR gives customers instant access to multi-lingual Parking Hosts in a control room centrally operated by Q-Park. They provide help and support with queries relating to the payment system or to entering or exiting the parking facility.
The QCR also enables direct contact with Parking Hosts in the car park, and if necessary with service technicians and the service department.
The QCR was central to the success of our Operational Excellence programme known as Operations 2.0. The pilot project in Maastricht launched in 2008 was the first to connect the parking facilities to QCR. The programme also restructured parking facility operations into specialised groups: technical and constructional maintenance, cleaning maintenance, and hospitality services.
Following the rollout to the entire organisation, Operations 2.0 has reduced the number of customer complaints and working hours for Parking Hosts, has lowered costs and incidents related to Parking Management Systems, and has achieved savings on maintenance and cleaning costs.
Not only did Operations 2.0 generate proven cost savings it also helped to improve quality, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement.
Can parking be smart and sustainable?
In 2016, two international conferences were held in Brussels on the subject of Smart Cities and Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans. At first the participants expressed the view that parking management does not fit well with efforts to make mobility more sustainable and with smart cities. But it was explained that parking management is an excellent tool to achieve selective access for car traffic in the inner-cities: it discourages employees who want to park their cars in the inner-city for the whole day and facilitates visitors to shops or other inner-city attractions.
In this way, a parking facility in the inner-city can be shared by multiple visitors during the course of the day. Subsequently the pricing mechanism can be used to find the right balance between supply and demand set against the (desired) capacity of the infrastructure. To help shops on the high street survive, we need to provide a more attractive environment giving space for a ‘shopping experience’ alongside the more everyday shopping trips. Fewer on-street parking spaces is an important aspect of this, but is also a sensitive subject: replacing cheap resident permits for on-street parking (often costing less than a euro a day) with alternatives is proving to be a very turgid process.
Smart mobility programmes offer opportunities to disrupt the daily routines of motorists by providing information that can change visitors’ (parking) behaviour. If motorists do not know that they can park more economically somewhere else and still reach their destination easily, they will stick to their existing (politically undesirable) behaviour and keep on complaining about the high price of parking. Or they will stop going into town altogether, doing all their shopping online from the comfort of their own home instead.
A repeated theme in the discussions was the need to provide motorists with information about parking alternatives and real-time availability. The Dutch initiative to set up a national parking data platform was greeted with enthusiasm. Providing information to users through solutions such as apps is seen as a service provision which should be provided by the market players. This market-oriented approach was stressed in the presentations by the European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, and the representatives of DG Move and DG Connect.
During the discussion the distinction was made between the role of infrastructure (managed by various government agencies) and the role of service providers to consumers/travellers. The data relating to the infrastructure (including road, parking and public transport networks) and the current situation (use, disruptions etc.) fall under the responsibility of infrastructure. It is then up to the market players to use this data to develop services for consumers.
Pricing according to the time of day and length of stay are clearly the elements which have the most influence in people’s choice of a parking facility as an element of a journey. This means that parking policy and the information relating to it are very direct drivers in the development of concepts for smart cities and smart mobility.
Source: Extract from 'Is parking really smart and sustainable', P. Martens, Vexpansie 1, 2016