This is our last blog update for 2009, and as such I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you, on behalf of the whole PCI team, a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2010.
It’s been quite a year, I am sure you will all agree. We have seen significant consolidation in the parking operators’ market with two players – Mirvac and Premier Parking – bowing out for different reasons. The parking industry in Sydney has been further affected by a hike of over 100% in the NSW Parking Levy effective on 1 July 2009 making parking prices even more expensive throughout the CBD and other major commercial areas. Operators’ and owners’ attempts to lobby the government have been unsuccessful and so far we have not seen any clear indication that the proceeds from this tax will be allocated for the use for which they were intended.
On a more positive note, the demand for car parks and parking spaces as an asset category remained consistently strong throughout the crisis, reflecting demand from institutional and private investors in key CBD areas.
The three issues of the Davis Langdon Construction Sentiment reports published during the year reflected the upward swing in attitude within the industry, providing valuable data on attitudes and key factors in this sector.
Automated parking guidance systems received growing attention in 2009, with the rollout of projects across several significant parking sites indicating the increasing awareness of the benefits of this technology and commitment by car park owners to greater levels of customer service. The benefits from such systems are many – not only for the customers, in reduced time and frustration in space finding, but also for owners and the environment, with increased efficiency leading to reduced
emissions and energy consumption.
Discussions and planning are underway across various councils and cities in Australia on the implementation of recharging facilities to prepare for the impending electric vehicle revolution. North Sydney and Adelaide have indicated that they are looking to roll out recharging stations in the near future, with North Sydney planning to include preferential parking for electric vehicles. In August it was announced that Canberra would be the first Australian city to roll out the necessary infrastructure, with completion of a basic network by 2012.
Automatic licence plate recognition technology is also becoming more popular (and more reliable), with applications both on- and off-street. On-street automatic ‘chalking’ technology, mounted to vehicles, improves the efficiency and accuracy of monitoring and enforcing parking zones (as well as the personal safety of personnel). Off-street, 2009 has seen the first installations in car parks to manage long term parkers (particularly in airport environments) and to automatically calculate the pricing for parked vehicles without the use of traditional equipment or parking tickets. In Australia we still have a way to go before these systems become commonplace due to cost and reliability of reading our myriad of licence plate styles.
Despite the adverse economic conditions 2009 was a great year for PCI and for that we must thank our clients, both old and new, for believing that we can provide the “valuable advice” that we claim in our byline. We have completed projects large and small for clients operating in the retail, airport, commercial, health care and leisure sectors and across our full range of services from design to feasibilities, to equipment and operational tenders, to audits and performance reviews. With each new client and each new project we increase our level of expertise and competency with the aim to provide advice that is grounded on the best and the latest products and services in the parking industry.
In 2009 we have continued our support of the World Parking Symposium which met in Breda (The Netherlands) in July 2009 by presenting a paper. We also attended the Australasian Airports Landside Transport Conference in Townsville in October (at which we spoke on airport parking prices) and the first University Parking Workshop in Perth later that month. To cap the year, we also presented a paper at the Second Middle East Parking Conference in Abu Dhabi in November.
Next year will see the next Congress organised by the Parking Association of Australia, which will be held in November in Sydney at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre (please register your interest at www.apc2010.com.au). PCI will be committing a lot of time to this convention as I am a member of the organising committee. I will also be continuing my role as the Treasurer of the PAA as a further demonstration of our commitment to participate in the development of the industry in Australia.
During this year we have welcomed Kathy Ross and Darren Tollemache to our team. Kathy, who is a Chartered Accountant and has extensive property experience has joined PCI in a consulting capacity whilst Darren will be responsible for Business Development. They join a great team of consultants which includes Grant McLean, George Burton and Kelvin Worthington. To all the staff and our support team (Alex, John, Peter, Bill) my personal thanks and best wishes.
Our blog, which was launched in October 2008 has proven to be a great success, with our current following numbering just under 200 subscribers, from all over the world (see our map below of where our readers are coming from!). The response from subscribers has been really positive and encouraging. We hope to send out a survey questionnaire early next year to get a better understanding of the kinds of news you are interested in. If you are not yet a subscriber we would love you to join us – simply enter your details in the ‘subscribe’ box on the PCI blog on the right hand side.
Peter, who founded PCI almost 30 years ago, has decided to commence a new stage in his life by retiring from active duty and dedicating himself to his other passions, including sailing, golfing and spending time with his partner Deb. Over his years as a parking consultant and prior to that as a parking operator, Peter has made an invaluable contribution to the industry and is considered by all to be a professional, knowledgeable, compassionate person, always ready to have a laugh and take his work seriously but never himself! Whilst he will continue to provide invaluable contribution behind the scenes, we wish Peter and Deb many happy years ahead and acknowledge our collective debt towards an outstanding individual. Good luck Peter!
If you have read this far, thank you! We wish you all a well-deserved break and we hope to continue keeping you informed and entertained in 2010!
As our final “official” act for the year, we would like to bring a smile to your face: enjoy The Muppets’ Rendition of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.