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May 06. 2014 8:16PM

More in Keene paying for parking by cellphone

KEENE — A trial run of a program that allows motorists to pay for parking downtown with their cellphone was so successful the city has decided to continue and expand its use, spokesman Gary Lamoureux said Tuesday.

Parkmobile USA, Inc. implemented its “revolutionary new service” in January in three parking lots and one side street, Lamoureux said.

Customers sign up online and then pay for parking using Parkmobile’s native mobile applications for the iPhone, Android, Windows and Blackberry smartphones.

“We did some random checking with people that are using the system, and the people that use it love it,” Lamoureux said.

Users don’t have to carry change, and if they want to extend their time they can do it remotely, he said.

Since starting, use has increased 50 to 60 percent each month. April’s numbers are not in yet, but Lamoureux said he expects the numbers to land somewhere between 450 to 500 transactions.

On Monday, the program was expanded to all city parking. To use the new Parkmobile system, customers can register for free at www.parkmobile.com or download the mobile app. When customers park in a lot space or street parking meter space, they can use the mobile app, the Internet, or a toll-free number to pay for parking. A popular option when signing up is the text message reminder the customer receives 15 minutes prior to the expiration of their parking session.

When parking enforcement officers come across a vehicle parked at a meter that reads zero, they simply use the system to look up the license plate number to see if the parking has been paid for.

There is no cost to the city; however, Parkmobile charges a convenience fee of 35 cents per transaction. But users don’t seem deterred, Lamoureux said. “It helps the customer to be able to use different kinds of payments.”

At the end of the month, Parkmobile pays the city the parking fees it collected.

The program is purely voluntary, he added.

“Come visit Keene. Try it out. It seems to work well, and the downtown merchants here in Keene are really enthused about it,” Lamoureux said.

mpierce@newstote.com


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