City Council Meeting: January 14, 2014

Agenda Item: 3-P

To:                   Mayor and City Council

From:              Gigi Decavalles-Hughes, Director of Finance

Subject:          Purchase New Parking Access and Revenue Control System




Recommended Action

Staff recommends that City Council authorize the City Manager to negotiate and execute a contract with DataPark USA Inc., a Delaware-based company, in an amount not to exceed $5,000,000 for the purchase, installation, and up to ten years of maintenance of the Parking Access and Revenue Control System with License Plate Recognition (LPR) for the downtown parking structures, Main Library parking structure, Civic Center parking facilities, Ken Edwards Center, and Pier Deck parking lot, with future year maintenance funding contingent on Council approval.


Executive Summary

The Parking Access and Revenue Control System (PARCS) replacement project is one of the approved Capital Improvement Projects for fiscal year 2013/14.  As the result of a competitive procurement process, DataPark USA Inc. is recommended as the best bidder to provide the new PARCS system.  The contract would include purchase and installation of new parking equipment for 14 parking facilities for an amount not to exceed $3,400,000, and provide ongoing maintenance service for seven years with an option to extend for three additional years for a total ten-year amount not to exceed $5,000,000.  An agreement to cover up to 10 years of maintenance is recommended as the average life expectancy of parking equipment is seven to ten years.



The City first installed the current Skidata PARCS equipment 13 years ago in seven downtown parking structures.  Since then, five additional facilities have been added, as well as 37 pay–on-foot machines to fully automate the parking system.  This has provided for the full automation of 13 facilities in Downtown and the Civic Center.  The average lifespan of parking equipment is seven to ten years.


The centralized parking system is operated by one system control panel located in Downtown Parking Structure 5 and processes approximately nine million transactions annually.  The use of the centralized parking system provides Parking Operations staff the ability to consolidate reporting and revenue control functions and implement related operations.  The current PARCS in the City’s gated parking facilities has outlived its lifespan and experiences frequent operating difficulties. It needs replacement and infrastructure upgrades. Most recently, the SkiData system was offline for several hours on Saturday, December 28 and Monday, December 31 which resulted in significantly increased staffing cost, lost revenue and a negative customer experience through delays and increased traffic.


In October 2012, staff received a letter from Sentry Control, the City’s current PARCS service provider, outlining a series of serious deficiencies in the City’s PARCS that included a series of recommended changes and upgrades to the network, replacing servers, and other hardware and software changes needed to stabilize the system and ensure credit card security standards are met (Attachment A).


On November 2, 2012, the City received a notice of the end of support for a significant portion of the City’s current system, including the inability to have availability of parts for certain components (Attachment B).  The City is also operating on Version 19 of the software and cannot upgrade to the current Version 23 because the existing equipment is not compatible with the current software or future software upgrades that would enhance PCI (credit card compliance) and PA/DSS (payment application and data security standards).


The combination of obsolete equipment and outdated software that cannot be upgraded resulted in the City reviewing its current parking equipment and submitting a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) funding request for FY 2012-13.  That request was not funded.  During FY 2012/13, the PARCS equipment continued to experience increased problems. The increased incidents of failure and the end of support for a portion of the City’s equipment resulted in the Council authorization of CIP funding for new or upgraded equipment as part of the FY 2013-14 CIP budget.


Upon approval of the Capital Improvement Project of replacing the PARCS equipment, the City issued a Request of Proposals in May 2013.  A vendor was recommended by the selection committee.  After the recommendation of the award became public, Sentry Control informed Council that one of the selection committee members from LA DOT has a family member employed by the selected vendor.  In order to retain highest procurement objectivity and integrity, Council rejected all proposals and directed staff to complete a new bidding process on August 27, 2013.


Following rejection of the bids, the City contracted with Walker Parking Consultants to assist with the Request for Proposals process.  In October 2013, the City issued a new RFP that included additional technical specifications and sought additional details related to proposer’s finances and customer service standards.  The original selection committee was dismissed and replaced by a new selection committee with new representatives from the Information System and Finance Departments.  The committee also included a representative from Macerich, the City of West Hollywood, and Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.  All selection committee members disclosed that they had no conflicts of interest.


Parking Structure 6 opened to the public on December 19, 2013.  In order to avoid any delay of the operation, the City issued a Request for Quotes in September 2013 for temporary leasing of a standalone PARC System for the new facility.  The City received quotes from DataPark and WPS as well as a “No Bid” form from Sentry Systems.  DataPark was selected based on providing the lowest cost to meet all required specifications.  The system was delivered and installed successfully with short notice supporting the grand opening of Parking Structure 6.





Equipment failure negatively affects the customer’s parking experience and causes significant lost revenue and increased staffing costs.  Failure causes delays at the exits, which create traffic congestion and increased emissions from vehicles.  In situations when equipment fails, the parking operator needs to deploy additional staff to manually facilitate the exit process, which results in increased labor costs.  The replacement PARCS equipment would be able to perform reliably, reducing delays.  It would also enable additional functions and reporting capabilities, such as developing an integrated value pass with the City’s transit system.  The replacement PARCS equipment would enhance the overall parking experience.  To further enhance the current parking program, staff also recommends including all gated parking facilities, including the Pier Deck parking lot, the new Parking Structure 6, and Ken Edwards Center into the PARCS.  With these additional facilities, the new system is anticipated to handle over 11 million transactions annually.


Vendor Selection

On August 27, 2013, Council directed staff to complete a new procurement process.  The City retained the Services of Walker Parking Consultants to provide technical review of the RFP and to develop tools to evaluate the responses.  On October 17, 2013, the City issued a new RFP via the City’s online bidding site in accordance with the City Charter and Municipal Code provision that require competitive bidding for this project.  During the new procurement process, more information was required from the bidders, such as three years of financial data and additional information on maintenance service levels.  A new selection committee comprised of staff from the Finance and Information System Departments, City of West Hollywood Parking Operations, Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. and Macerich reviewed all four proposals received.  Walker Parking Consultants also reviewed all the proposals and provided neutral comments without any recommendations for the selection committee.


The selection committee met twice and had extensive discussions on all evaluation criteria, including but not limited to pricing, proposed solutions, capacity of service performance, ongoing operating costs, financial and inventory resources, and system compliance levels.  Only two companies proposed a License Plate Recognition (LPR) system option in their proposals and included it in their pricing.  Below is a 7- and 10-year total cost (installation and maintenance) comparison of all four proposals:


Company                                                       7 Year Cost                                       10 Year Cost

DataPark (with LPR system)                      $4,315,777                                        $4,951,616

WPS (with LPR system)                             $3,950,499                                        $4,655,623

Sentry (without LPR system)                     $3,994,894                                        $4,532,914

Zeag   (without LPR system)                      $4,752,029                                        $5,464,641


Although not the lowest bidder, the selection committee recommends DataPark USA Inc. as the best bidder because they complied with all requested items in the RFP offering the best purchase and installation costs.  DataPark also demonstrated a proven License Plate Recognition (LPR) and transit keycards interface solution that is currently performing in high volume domestic locations.  Specifically,

·         DataPark has the strongest financial and inventory resources for the project.

·         DataPark has solutions that comply with all the RFP requested items.

·         Information Systems Department strongly suggested retaining a Windows-based operating system that DataPark provides.  It will benefit the operation, maintenance support and data processing.

·         DataPark provided the best report samples.

·         DataPark proposed the most comprehensive solution to minimize vehicles tailgating out of structures to avoid payment including license plate recognition technology and a quicker gate system.

·         DataPark has proven that they can interface with the City’s merchant account processing credit card transactions without any gateway costs.  The Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance system has been certified by the City’s merchant account provider and currently processes Parking Structure 6’s credit card transactions without utilizing a third party gateway which currently costs the City approximately $80,000 per year.  This cost is paid under a separate contract.

·         DataPark has the lowest purchase and installation price.  The pricing proposal from DataPark is also the most detailed and itemized.  All components were listed and broken down by location.

·         DataPark has integrated solutions in multiple domestic locations with parking keycard solutions.  Their system already has a solution developed to support the Big Blue Bus fare interface development.

·         DataPark is the only company that provided detailed information for how to accommodate alternative sized gate arms with detailed pricing and specifications.

·         DataPark has committed to the 24-hour availability with four-hour response time and next day repair requirement.

·         DataPark’s operating system has accounting and monthly parking management functions included as part of its features.

Based on these factors, the selection committee recommended DataPark USA as the best bidder.  This recommendation was ranked consistently by all five selection committee members.  The results of the evaluation (based on a maximum average score of 10) for all four companies were:

                        DataPark                                           8.19

                        WPS                                                   7.44

                        Sentry                                                            6.53

                        Zeag                                                   6.28








Financial Impacts & Budget Actions

The contract to be awarded to DataPark USA Inc. is for an amount not to exceed $5,000,000.  Funds in the amount of $3,200,000 are included in the FY 2013-14 Capital Improvement Program budget in account C010715.589000 (Parking Access and Revenue Control System) and $400,000 budget in account C014049.589000 (Parking Structure 6 Construction).  Funds in the amount of $200,000 for FY 2014-15 expenses are included in the FY 2014-15 budgets in account 01225.555010.  Future year funding is contingent on Council budget approval.  No maintenance or service costs are anticipated during the first two years.



Prepared by:  Frank Ching, Parking Administrator




Forwarded to Council:







Gigi Decavalles-Hughes

Director of Finance


Rod Gould

City Manager




A.   October 10, 2012 Letter from Sentry Control Systems

B.   November 2, 2012 Notice of SKIDATA change in software support