Feature Article

April 30, 2013

Feed Your Parking Meter with Your Smartphone Thanks to the Pango Parking App

Have you ever decided to grab a business lunch downtown only to discover that you didn't have enough change to feed the parking meter? A subsequent search of your car console and seat cushions produces a few pennies but not enough to feed the meter.

You decide to go into the restaurant anyway, rationalizing that getting takeout will only take a second. When you return, a nifty parking ticket is tucked under your windshield wiper. Twenty cents just became a $20 fine.

Thanks to PangoUSA, your days of paying for parking tickets could soon be over. The app enables cities to accept payment for parking via smartphones.

Instead of fishing under your couch cushions for spare change, you download the Pango app onto your phone if you're venturing into a city that is equipped with pay-by-phone parking. You choose the city and the zone in which you wish to park, and the timer starts on your smartphone. To remind you to get back to your car in time, you get an SMS message 15 minutes before your parking session expires.

When I downloaded the app and set up my account, I found that I could only use the Pango service on the Web. My phone kept insisting that my app wasn't registered, even though I could type in a username and password into my Web browser, and I had entered my payment information into the app.

Unfortunately, if you use the Web browser, you don't get the 15-minute SMS reminder. I'm still waiting for the smartphone app to start working. Time to start searching for some change.

I live in New England, so I'm shown available parking options for New York City, Towson, Md., Auburn N.Y. Latrobe, Pa. In New York City, the app can be used for garages owned by Imperial Parking Systems. That means that you can start your parking time from your car with your phone and use your phone to tell the attendant when you want your car ready for pickup.

In total, Pango has rolled out to 47 cities all over the world. The site claims 700,000 customers and manages 1.3 million monthly transactions.

Municipalities should see added revenue because people won't be running from their cars into coffee shops without feeding the meter. It will be a fantastic service for all concerned once the app registration issues are resolved.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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