Friday, June 7, 2013
Drivers in Scranton, Pa., will no longer have to search for change to feed that city's parking meters. On May 28, 2013, Pango Mobile Parking rolled out a citywide service that allows drivers to pay for parking using their mobile devices or computers.
According to Dani Shavit, Chief Executive Officer of Pango Shyyny USA, which is the Pango licensee in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington, D.C., nearly 500 users had signed up for the service less than a week after the launch.
"How many times have you gone to park and found you didn't have change for the meter?" asked DeeDee Rudenstein, Vice President of The Cline Group, Pango's public relations company. "Now you can manage everything on your iPhone, BlackBerry or Android device via Pango's mobile app, or you can pay by phone or text message."
Users can download Pango's mobile app for free. The system accepts Visa Inc., MasterCard Worldwide, Discover Financial Services, or American Express Co. credit and debit cards. Once signed up, users find a parking space, access the Pango app and click to start payment. When ready to leave, another click stops payment. The charges are automatically processed by Wells Fargo Bank once a month, not at the time of use. Pango receives a small percentage of the parking fee for the service.
Pango provided Scranton with signs to display on the blocks offering its service, along with parking-meter stickers that offer simple instructions on how to download and use the parking app.
"A large benefit to this system is that users only pay for exactly the time they're parked – charged by the minute," Shavit said. "It also saves time for the city; there is no need for money collectors and maintenance. It's a win-win-win situation for all three stakeholders: the city, the merchants and the drivers."
For parking spots on which time limits are imposed, Pango offers an alert that sends a message to a user's mobile device 15 minutes before the time has expired, saving headaches and expensive parking tickets, Pango noted.
Parking enforcers in Scranton were issued iPad Minis equipped with the Pango app, so they can enter a parked car's license number and immediately confirm that the driver has used Pango to pay. A text message is then sent to the user acknowledging that parking enforcement knows the individual has paid through Pango.
"At first, parking enforcers in Scranton saw the Pango program as extra work," Shavit said. "Now, a week after the launch, they are happy with the process. Some drivers are waiting until they hear from friends and family that our system delivers what it promises. But our best ambassadors are our parkers. So far none of the cities that have signed on have received any complaints."
Merchants may also participate in Pango's parking program by providing online coupons, advertisements or special offers that are automatically delivered to users based on their proximity to participating merchants. Users enter a zone number when parking that can trigger delivery of offers from merchants located nearby.
"We provide the platform, and the merchants provide us with images we deliver through the platform," Shavit said. "They can put out any type of promotion they want." This service is free for merchants while the concept is being tested; there will likely be a fee in the future.
The Pango Parking system was first launched in Europe and Israel, and is now available in five countries. According to Shavit, 65 percent of parking throughout Israel is paid for through Pango; in Tel Aviv, that figure is 90 percent.
In the United States, Scranton is just one of several cities now using Pango. The service is also up and running in special sections of Latrobe, Pa.; New York City and Auburn, N.Y.; and in Phoenix. Plans are afoot for making Pango Mobile Parking available in several other U.S. cities as well.
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