New signs in Dormont, including this one on Potomac Avenue, urge motorists to use a parking app on their smart phones to pay for and manage their parking in the borough.
By Harry Funk
Parking in Dormont has gone high-tech.
The borough has implemented a parking system developed by software company MeterFeeder Inc. that allows motorists to download an application to pay for parking by using their smartphones.
The company provided training for Dormont parking enforcement personnel and installed signs that give information about downloading the app, according to police Chief Michael Bisignani.
“I think it’s a great idea, but I have no idea how it’s going to work out,” he said, explaining that the system is too new for information to be available on how it’s working.
The borough and MeterFeeder have agreed to a six-month trial for the system, with the company waiving startup fees and the cost of marketing materials up to $1,000. It will receive 25 percent of the money collected through use of the app.
“We just want to make sure that we recoup the credit card transaction fees,” James Gibbs, MeterFeeder co-founder and CEO, told borough council at its February meeting.
While council President Bill McCartney admits to not owning a smartphone, he said he is enthusiastic about the use of new technology locally.
The app allows for motorists to input vehicle and payment information, then select the amount of time desired at a parking spot. MeterFeeder determines applicable rates, and the user pays only for time actually spent.
A notification is sent by phone as the time limit approaches, and more time can be added without the motorist having to return to the vehicle.
On the enforcement end, MeterRead provides the means to monitor the status of parked vehicles. Motorists who receive tickets also can make payments using the app.
An administrative portal allows for tracking of real-time parking revenue, and the borough will receive payments from MeterReader’s collections on the first day of each month.
A 2013 parking study conducted for the borough by Carnegie Mellon University students recommended that parking be made easier for customers of local businesses.
Council at that time considered implementing a pilot program by another company, Streetline Inc., that would have helped motorists identify vacant parking spaces. The measure was rejected because of the costs, Mr. McCartney said.
MeterFeeder makes it possible to pay at all of Dormont’s metered spaces, including at the machines that accept only coins, allowing for the convenience of using credit or debit cards.
“No personal financial information is shared with MeterFeeder or the municipality,” according to information the company provided to the borough.
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