How does parking technology fit into WA’s National Parks?

150 kilometres is a long way to go for a bank trip.

But for Parks and Wildlife WA Rangers in Cape Arid National Park, that was just part of life. Collecting entrance fees from various cash boxes in the park, holding onto the money for weeks, then making the two-hour drive to the nearest bank in Esperance to cash.

It’s a beautiful drive, but not one that should be a regular part of anyone’s job. By working with Duncan Solutions, Parks and Wildlife have managed to remove it completely. We spoke with Mike Shepherd, Regional Leader for the South Coast Region, to find out more.

Turning parking meters into pillars of efficiency

Since 2015, Duncan Solutions has provided 14 pay and display terminals to Parks and Wildlife WA, which the organisation has stationed across some dozen national parks on the South Coast.

“We call them electronic fee pillars,” says Mike. “They were traditional parking meters, but Duncan Solutions modified them with a new program to accept entrance fees for national parks.”

“They now accept PayWave, EFTPOS and credit cards – most electronic forms of payment. The terminals run on solar power, and can link into the PEMS (Parking Enterprise Management System) as long as they have a mobile signal. Even in our most remote national parks, that hasn’t really been an issue – maybe a slightly modified aerial here and there.”

All parks under Mike’s purview operate on an honour system, so ensuring as many people as possible can contribute is critical for the day-to-day maintenance of Parks and Wildlife.

“Entrance fees are $13 for a vehicle or $7 on concession – that’s what we call recreational revenue. It’s all funding that goes back into the parks through looking after pathways, maintaining infrastructure, new signage, rubbish collection and staff management.”

With the old system being physical cash boxes and written receipts where motorists put their license plate, it was certainly time for change. And as Mike points out, the impact of Duncan Solutions’ terminals has been fantastic.

One of Duncan Solutions’ new parking machines at Castle Rocks

How pay and display terminals changed WA’s national parks

By shifting to Duncan Solutions’ customised terminals, Parks and Wildlife WA saw massive benefits in terms of information gleaned and minimised labour-intensive work – particularly in remote areas.

“Our most remote rangers operate in areas like Cape Arid National Park, where it’s a two-hour journey to the nearest bank. Under the old system, they’d have to make that trip pretty regularly to deposit money, because our boxes only took cash. With the electronic terminals, there’s no need for any of that.”

“It means our staff can get on with their jobs in a much more enjoyable way. Nobody likes having to spend ages chasing money, and now rangers can focus on visitor management, looking after parks and generally making sure people enjoy their stay.”

Mike notes that in addition to making people’s jobs more enjoyable, the integration of PEMS has enhanced the kind of information they get on overall visitors.

“We already had a pretty accurate gauge of our most popular parks, but PEMS gives us a really good overview of everything that’s happening. Payment times and summaries, how much revenue each pillar generates, events notifications or alarms – it’s big-picture info right in front of us, which is great.”

Parks and Wildlife WA is a prime example of how Duncan Solutions’ technology can help with more than just parking solutions. The customisation of terminals and strong integration capabilities in PEMS mean that payment management can be addressed in a massive number of contexts.

With parks officers right across Australia in touch with Mike about where he got his terminals, it’s a solution that’s clearly catching on. To find out how this technology can help your organisation, get in touch with Duncan Solutions today.

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