Google Me a Parking Place.

After my brief mention of it yesterday, it's looking like "Google Me" (whatever that is) is about to become more than just a rumor and that the men of coloured letters are going to have a second shot at the "book of faces". After their disappointing pop with "Buzz" they are allegedly going all guns blazing to try and claw back some of the social networking space of the great interweb..... Let us hope that the evil that is Facebook can once and for all be vanquished from the ether.

Yesterday was a day off from the toils of Starfleet, although I can't say as there was a great deal of rest and relaxation involved. Daughter had an accompanied trip to the hospital (nothing major), there was list of "zee leetle jobs", still failed to pick up a copy of last weeks paper (because they didn't have any in the office and have to get one posted over & MiPermit failed on me in the car park. "You're what did what, now??" I hear you ask.

Gloucester City Council are a pretty forward thinking bunch sometimes. They've clearly been caught fumbling for change in the rain and only having a tenner (or a fiver if you're near to one of this new five pound dispensing cash machines) when the parking ticket machine only takes coins. Worse still, they've been stuck in a queue of pensioners at the only post office left in town as the ticket on the car runs out and posting a letter to Auntie Doris in Maidenhead has actually cost 65 quid as a result!!

Instead of all that pain, they've joined some other forward thinking folks (among them, Chorley, Essex, Hart District Council, Hull City, and Wiltshire Council) in signing up to an excellent cashless parking scheme. MiPermit works like this:
By Phone or Text
Create an account by either sending an SMS to the number advertised at the parking location, or by using the MiPermit web site. Creating your account by SMS is easy, just send the word PARK and your vehicle registration number to 60300. For example: PARK T123EST. The automated service will call and ask for payment details (using your telephone keypad). If you have used the service before, you would not usually need to tell them about your credit or debit card again. Confirmation of your transaction is sent by SMS. There is no need for a receipt on your dashboard - the parking operator will see the stay automatically.
And... you guessed it.... There's an APP for that!!

By far the best feature is the ability to "top up" your ticket when it's getting close to expiry. You can even have the system SMS you to remind you when that is, although this does cost 10p per reminder. Tariffs run from about 70p for 30 minutes up to £2.70 for 2 hours, so there's about a 20p overhead based on previous charges, but if you've got no change, it's worth the hassle.

It is a genius product because it is simple, convenient and it works, except - and this is where it all when wrong for me yesterday - except, for when you upgrade your iPhone and forget what the hell your password was... then you're caught scrabbling around for change again. Ho Hum.

Regardless, if your local council don't, then why not write to them and ask them why the hell not? Cut's down on admin for a start, and that'll mean more money back in your Council Tax fund - maybe....