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Pay-by-phone parking company launches in New York City

Posting in Cities

In these technological times where there seems to be an app for everything, parking meters can seem decidedly old fashioned. How often do we even carry change around these days?

Happily, New Yorkers are getting a new pay-by-phone parking option. Pango is an app-based service that allows users to pay for street, gated, valet, event, and fleet-based services by phone. It already operates in 47 cities around the world, with 1 million active accounts, and handles around 2 million transactions a month. Pango recently partnered with New York City's Imperial Parking, the largest privately owned garage company in the city.

Users can register their name, credit card, and license plate with Pango. When they want to park, New York customers simply find one of Imperial Parking's 110 garages. When it's time to leave, users can ask for their car via the Pango app, and have it waiting for them when they arrive at the garage. Since their payment is processed through the app, users don't need to wait in line to pay, either.

While Pango is currently available only in private garages in New York, the company is working with New York City's Department of Transportation to try to establish the service in public parking spaces as well. PangoUSA's president, Neil Edwards, said in an email that Pango could bring cities significant cost savings. "When cities upgrade a parking meter to a newer smart meter, it costs them on average $750 per space and 30 percent of revenue in maintenance to the meter company on a monthly basis," he said. "Pango is literally a $50 dollar sign for every 10 spaces, and a convenience fee equal to about 10 percent of revenues."

Edwards also says that Pango can generate additional revenue for cities because when a user sees his/her meter running low on time, he/she can add more value remotely, via the app, without rushing to leave. Local shops can also send coupons and offers directly to Pango users nearby via the app, a potential revenue booster for local commerce.

Pay-by-phone parking has seen success in Europe and other parts of the world. In Israel, 89 percent of parking payments are submitted through the Pango app. The company hopes to make similar inroads into the U.S. market.

"We want to see Pango in every major U.S. city, airport, and garage in the next five years," said Edwards.

Images: Pango

— By on March 10, 2013, 8:00 PM PST

Channtal Fleischfresser

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Channtal Fleischfresser has worked for The Economist, WNET/Channel 13, Al Jazeera English, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure