Mindful of what kind of digital solution it would transition to, the City of Asheville embarked on a trial to compare mobile payments with credit card “smart” meters. Early on, the benefit of adding mobile payments was clear. After a couple of years of mobile payments, Asheville transitioned its enforcement operations to a more modern digital solution to streamline work for its parking department.
Testing the waters
The City of Asheville chose to trial both mobile payments and “smart” meters that would accept debit or credit cards to augment its existing coin meters. The trial launched with a limited number of spaces in downtown Asheville, and examined the criteria of both cost and performance to determine the final rollout. According to the Transportation Director of the City of Asheville,“Throughout the initial test period, a common comment was ‘Why can’t I use Passport at all of the meters?’” The benefits of mobile payments were clear, most notably in the cost of implementation and the revenue transaction difference.
Longer sessions, larger transactions
During the trial, the average value of a cash transaction was $1.00, compared to the average mobile pay transaction of $1.74 at first, that increased to $2.05 after the full rollout. This incremental revenue increase was driven by a change in customers’ purchasing behavior– they no longer needed to think about how much change they had, but how much time they needed, and were willing to pay for longer sessions or extend their sessions through the app to avoid parking tickets and enjoy the city longer.
By the end of the first year, the percentage of total revenues derived from mobile payments had tripled with almost 700 new users signing up for the service each month. Overall revenues increased by over 10% by the end of the first year of the rollout.
More hours in the day
With Passport’s mobile enforcement system, parking enforcement officers are able to cover more ground in a shorter amount of time, find more violators and spend more time connecting with the community. The city’s parking manager benefits from time savings in data processing, like appeals, through Passport’s back-end system. What used to take him 2 hours now takes 30 minutes, meaning a 75% decrease in time to process appeals.
The city benefits from savings resulting from reduced expenses associated with meter maintenance– coin collection and service– and more efficient monitoring and enforcement.