Sunday, July 13, 2014

Getting smart about parking in Scranton

July 06. 2013 11:56PM

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Scranton has been a quick study on using the Pango smartphone app for metered parking in the downtown, according to the head of the company providing the service.

During the first four weeks since the no-fee, pay-by-phone app was launched in the city, it’s been used 2,750 times, said Dani Shavit, chief executive officer of Pango Shyyny USA of Baltimore. In comparison, the more populous Chattanooga, Tenn., recorded just 323 transactions over a similar time frame.

The first month is important because it indicates how the service is accepted, Shavit said.

“We got a very definite answer that the Scranton parkers are ready and willing to be smart parkers,” he added.

Shavit gave a breakdown of the customers’ usage: approximately 25 percent used the service more than twice a week; another 25 percent more than two times a month; and 50 percent more than once a month.

The mobile payment parking service is available in nearly 50 cities around the world. Shavit would like to promote its success in Scranton, the only Northeastern Pennsylvania city to have it, to attract business elsewhere. The service provides real-time, online reporting so parking enforcement can verify payment has been made for a meter.

The service does not cost the city any money. Pango receives a share of the assessed fees from the more than 800 app-enabled meters. Shavit said he would like to see all of the city’s meters equipped for smart parking.

People can register on the company’s web site,, or download the app from the App Store. They also can register by calling toll-free 1-877-697-2646.

The company charges $1.99 a month for the reminder service that sends a notice 15 minutes before the meter runs out. Pango users can extend the parking session without having to go back to the meter.

To date, 650 people who use the Scranton meters have signed up for the payment system. As an incentive to join, customers who register before the end of this month will receive 10 hours of free parking worth $10.

Merchants can also benefit, and 10 of them are participating in a free mobile advertising program that provides store coupons to parkers, Shavit said. There’s an incentive for them, too. Every merchant that joins before the end of September will get one year of participation for free.

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