Parkmobile Enables Norwalk Motorists to Use Cellphones to Pay for Parking

By Laura Stotler October 12, 2011

Motorists in Norwalk, Conn. can now pay for their parking meters or parking stations by cellphone, thanks to new technology announced by the Norwalk Parking Authority and Parkmobile. Norwalk is home to TMC's headquarters.

Parking Authority members and other officials stood near parking meters on Washington Street in the heart of SoNo (South Norwalk) to announce the new technology today.

"Paying is so simple," said Kathryn A. Hebert, staff person to the Parking Authority. "Once you register your license plates, you enter the zone number, which is on every meter and every parking facility. It's so convenient. You don't have to leave your car. You can be on a train, you can be in a store, in a restaurant, and 15 minutes before you run out of time, we will text you."

She added that it will take two or three minutes to register for the pay-by-phone system and around 300 people have registered and downloaded the application so far.

"You can still use coins and credit cards … but this will provide with another option, so that you don't have to run and feed the meter," Hebert said. "Everything is done through your cellphone."

Laurens Eckelboom, executive vice president of Parkmobile, was on hand for the unveiling. Information entered by motorists is instantly sent to Parkmobile's centralized data management system, and is immediately available to parking providers. Information is protected through SSL-256 bit encryption and the company provides 24/7 SQL server monitoring.

Parkmobile data may be integrated with legacy systems so that all data is collected and available through one secure centralized location. It may be used for a number of things including parking pattern analysis, parking enforcement and revenue reconciliation. The company's data may be integrated with existing web-enabled parking enforcement devices, offering a feed to license plate recognition (LPR)-driven systems or other legacy enforcement systems.

Motorists and parking providers also have real-time access to data showing when parking started and stopped as well as what total charges are. A number of reporting tools are available as well, from specific dates or parking zones to global reports.

"I pull up to an available parking space and then I look at the meter," said Eckelboom. "There is a sticker at the meter with a zone number. That four-digit zone number I need to enter that into my mobile app. Now I can choose my duration. You can pay in 15-minute increments or hourly increments, whatever you want. Then I receive my (electronic) confirmation."

Parkmobile charges a 35-cent service fee for each transaction, said Eckelboom. That is in addition to the fee charged by the Parking Authority for the meter or pay station in question. The pay-by-phone technology will work for on-street meters in the SoNo area, the Haviland Deck and North Water Street Lot, the Webster Lot and the Yankee Doodle Garage in the Wall Street area, according to Hebert.

Others on hand for the unveiling included Norwalk Mayor Richard A. Moccia and Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce President Edward J. Musante Jr.

Moccia said that tickets are always a concern for motorists. "But we are trying to make things better -- better customer-oriented," he said. "This is one step forward to make the parking a little easier, and I hope the merchants and business people in the area will make their customers aware of it when they come in to dine or shop or have a drink at one of the bars."

Customers may register for the pay-by-phone system online here.




Edited by Rich Steeves

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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