Phoning in the Parking Meter $ with a Whoosh!

Multi-Space Parking Meter

A parking meter in Syracuse, N.Y. Photo by Shantinique Brooks.

Now the days of looking for loose-change for the parking meter are coming to an end. Soon you’ll be able to pay some parking meters through your smartphone.

In her State of the City speech on Jan. 23, 2014, Mayor Stephanie Miner unveiled plans to offer a smartphone app that allows electronic payment by summer 2014. The app will work with the city’s 280 multi-station meters, in which customers take a ticket to put on their windshield.

Common Councilor Jake Barrett, D-District 1, is a member of the public works committee, which oversees the city’s parking and transit system. The city will hire Parkeon, which makes the city’s parking meters, to provide the smartphone app called Whoosh!, said Barrett.

“Any smartphone will be able to access the Parkeon payment tables for a given date, time,” said Barrett in email interview.

To use the payment app, customers register with Whoosh! At 280 multi-station meters, customers call or text Whoosh! or simply tap the app to pay the meter. The app also allows customers to swap left-over paid parking for another vehicle or location, and the option to extend or shorten the parking session. Customers are later billed an extra charge as well as the parking fee. According to the Whoosh! website, the app provides customers with convenience, the ease of prepaying and a smaller chance of getting tickets and overstaying the meter time.


Whoosh! Screenshot

A screenshot of the Whoosh! home page on an app store. Whoosh! lets customers call, text, or simply tap the app to pay the meter.

Pete O’Conner is the Syracuse Department of Public Works commissioner.  The app may be a bargain for its price, he said. “The service doesn’t cost the city a dime,” said O’Conner.

The smartphone app will make life easier for residents and tourists, say city officials. Danica Kaltaler, the communications manager of the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau, described the app as a convenience for visitors.

“I don’t think it will impact our tourism but it is convenient. I don’t think anyone will come for that reason, but it is an attribute to the destination,”  said Kaltaler . “It’s something that we would put on our website because it’s an easy benefit.”

(Shantinique Brooks is a senior  majoring in broadcast and digital journalism with a minor in political science.)


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