Our response to COVID-19
Since March 2020, like all businesses in Europe, Q-Park has been adapting its services to the consequences of government measures to the coronavirus pandemic.
Naturally we have taken measures in all our parking facilities to help our visitors feel as safe as possible. We have expanded our season ticket offering, and various initiatives were taken in the countries to facilitate bicycle parking. We also accelerated the introduction of cashless and contactless payments at this time.
Measures in parking facilities
During the uncertainty of the first wave, we moved forward one day at a time, primarily ensuring our parking facilities were safe to use.
We reviewed our cleaning routines and ensured that all customer contact points were cleaned regularly and thoroughly.
We introduced posters and floor stickers to remind customers and staff to keep their distance. The Q-Park countries made their own versions of the generic images, substituting the correct distancing.
All countries upgraded season tickets for healthcare professionals to 24/7 status to ensure maximum flexibility at no additional cost.
New season ticket options
From the McKinsey Global COVID-19 Automotive Customer Survey, which has been continually updated throughout 2020, we know that people do not consider shared and public transport as safe as a private car. The risk of infection has become a top priority for people's mode of transport choice.
Figure 3 Risk of infection: shared and public transport
When people were allowed to go to their place of work, public transport usage fell dramatically and people travelled by car, by bicycle or they walked. In addition, people didn’t stop working from home entirely and many only went back to the office for only two or three days a week.
This combination of going to the office and working from home prompted us to introduce new flexible season ticket options which we call Office Flex. The offering differs per country, but the basic principle is a season ticket guaranteeing a parking space for a certain number of hours or days per week or per month. We also reduced the minimum contract duration from three to one month.
Facilitating bicycle parking
In the UK and Ireland, a shift from public transport to perceived safer forms of transport such as cycling was particularly noticeable as the first coronavirus lockdown started to ease. Q-Park responded to this change by helping city centre businesses throughout the UK and Ireland to provide safe and secure (gated) bicycle parking for their employees.
Cashless and contactless payments
Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, all Q-Park countries have noticed an increase in card and contactless payments. Q-Park Belgium has seen an increase of about 5% and the UK of more than 6%. Q-Park Belgium and Q-Park Netherlands both have more than 90% cashless payments, a considerable achievement.
Q-Park is unique in the parking industry when it comes to contactless parking. We started rolling out our innovative contactless parking systems into all Q-Park parking facilities throughout Europe in 2016. Contactless payment functionality is available at the standard payment machines as well as at the access and exit barrier terminals.
In 2019, we developed additional contactless technology for accessing and exiting parking facilities based on ANPR, which we call PaSS (Parking as a Smart Service). This was first implemented in Q-Park Belgium in combination with partner apps (KBC & EasyPark) and the Q-Park Mobile App.
During 2020 we accelerated the implementation of this technology in the countries as the need for contactless parking increased. Posters also encouraged customers to use contactless payment methods.
Q-Park Belgium was the pilot country for this innovation so all parking facilities in Belgium support this technology. During 2020 we developed plans to implement this innovation in specific PFs in other Q-Park countries, starting with those facilities where the technology is most relevant. These are the parking facilities where many customers pre-book their visit.