Move Over Parking Boot the Barnacle Has Arrived
There’s a new boot in town.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen great advances in parking technology — mobile payments, reservations, you name it — all increasing user convenience and bringing parking further into the 21st century.
But last week, we found out that there’s a new innovation to add to the list. We were introduced to the Barnacle, the newest alternative to the dreaded boot that you hope to never see on your car.
The Barnacle is a 20 pound piece of yellow plastic that can be easily suctioned onto a parking violator’s windshield — enforcement officers just pump the device and arm it with a keypad. Once violators call the number provided and make their payment, they receive the code to unlock the Barnacle and can easily take it off their car. Then, they return the Barnacle to the nearby drop off location.
But don’t try to drive off with it — besides the fact that you won’t be able to see in front of you, the Barnacle is armed with an alarm that will sound upon movement. Also, the Barnacle itself may only be 20 pounds, but it sticks to a windshield with 750 pounds of force.
Needless to say, this alternative to booting is a very exciting innovation for drivers, since it usually takes around an hour’s time for an enforcement officer to arrive and remove a boot from a vehicle. Which in this day and age of technology at our fingertips, is rare.
Not only does the Barnacle make this process easier for violators, but it’s beneficial to enforcement officers as well. Boots are heavy to carry and can be difficult to take on and off a violator’s car — not to mention trying to avoid any damage to the car itself.
So it’s fair to call the Barnacle a “win-win”.
But the real question is….is this the end of the boot as we know it?
We’ll see in time. Right now, the Barnacle is being used on a trial basis in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and Allentown, PA.
The Barnacle is a major step in the right direction toward improved parking enforcement, but we can’t help but wonder if this scenario has the potential to utilize mobile payment technology.
Mobile payments have already started making their way into the parking enforcement scene. For example, in the City of Omaha, NE, parkers can use the city’s ParkOmaha app to make metered parking payments and parking violation payments. While finding a parking ticket on your car is not ideal, being able to pay off your ticket right away in an app you already use makes the entire process easier.
TechCrunch pointed out the Barnacle’s potential for a mobile component as well, but brought up the valid point that if they debuted their own app, usage would most likely be low (hopefully your car doesn’t get booted that often).
But what if Barnacle payment was an add-on to a city’s existing parking app– like we’ve seen in Omaha? This would take the Barnacle’s convenience a step even further.
As the Barnacle makes its entrance into the parking industry, we’re excited to see how it will ultimately impact the user’s experience.
Move over boot, it looks like the Barnacle could be here to stay…