Pay by phone parking coming to Kennett Square

Originally appeared in Daily Local News by Fran Maye

Pay by phone parking coming to Kennett Square

June 24, 2016-

KENNETT SQUARE- Parking is about to become much more convenient in the borough.

Borough council recently voted unanimously to start using PassportParking, a smartphone parking app, for a trial run. The app will make it easier for motorists to pay for parking and allow them to add time to the meter without running back to their vehicle.

Using the app, which is free to download for both iPhone and Android phones, motorists must open an account with either Visa, MasterCard or Discover, or load it with at least $20 with a debit card. Motorists must pay a 25-cent convenience fee every time the meter is accessed, which is debited from the user’s account immediately.

To pay for parking, a driver must enter the six-digit zone number for the side of the street and block where the vehicle is parked. The zone numbers will be posted on street signs.
If paying using the app, a printed receipt does not need to be displayed in the windshield. Parking enforcement personnel will check license plate numbers before issuing tickets, to ensure that vehicles are not improperly cited.

The parking account is automatically replenished when the balance drops below $10 or when parking would exceed the balance.

Motorists using parking meters will still be able to use coins.

Joe Scalise, borough manager, said about $150,000 is budgeted this year to upgrade parking meters. When researching meters, PassportParking was deemed to have the most value. The borough must collect at least $250 per month, or $3,000 per year for the meters to be cost-effective.

PassportParking meters are already used in West Chester. Hector Mojica, interim parking director there, said West Chester has realized a dramatic increase in parking revenue during the two years the meters have been active with PassportParking.

“It’s all about convenience for the visitors to town,” Mojica said. “Say you are sitting in a restaurant with your family enjoying a nice, fat steak, you don’t have to worry about your meter expiring. Before the meter expires, you get a text letting you know your meter is about to expire and you have the option to reload right there. It’s very convenient, and people just love it.”

Mojica said every meter in West Chester has PassportParking.

With PassportParking, local merchants can validate parking and pay the parking fees as part of a free parking promotion.

Unlike coins, where motorists often use the remaining time left by the previous motorist, Passport Parking does not offer that advantage, and the borough stands to benefit from added revenue.

“I think we will see an increase in revenue based on this, and it will be more convenient and customers will use meters more,” said Councilor Larry Bosley, who oversees The Market at Liberty Place on State Street.

The meters will be clearly labeled, and Mary Hutchins, executive director of Historic Kennett Square, said she is planning a full-blown marketing blitz to educate the public on the advantages of PassportParking.

PassportParking is already in use in many major cities, including Detroit, Boston and many more. A PassportParking account can be set up for Android phones at and search for PassportParking, and on iPhones at and search for PassportParking. Once an account is set up and used, all transactions and parking times on the account can be viewed at any time.

Scalise said case studies indicated use of PassportParking increases parking revenue by 12 percent.

“This is a great way to start monetizing our parking structure,” said Councilor LaToya Myers.

The borough will try the program for six months, and if they are displeased, they can opt out of it with 60 days of notice.

“I see this as a low-cost pilot project,” said Councilor Wayne Braffman.