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Bethlehem develops smartphone app for feeding parking meters

ParkNow! to go online Friday

Bethlehem develops app for feeding parking meters

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - There's now an app for paying to park your car at a meter in Bethlehem.

It's called "ParkNow!" You load an account with money, and when you park at a meter in Bethlehem, just activate the app on your smartphone and you're done.

Feeding the meter, for some, can be a hassle at times.

"Sometimes, you don't have enough quarters," said Elyse Rivera, of Bethlehem. "Using the credit card is really convenient, too, but heck, if you don't have your wallet."

Now, you won't have to search for quarters anymore. Just pull put your smartphone.

"Instead of having to run out in the middle of your dinner or the movies, you have the ability from your ParkNow! app to extend your parking remotely," said Krista Tassa, president of ParkNow!

There are three ways you can pay -- using your iPhone or Android app from anywhere, scanning the QR code in person using your smartphone, or calling a phone number to add more time to the meter.

"The beauty of the QR code is there is no room for human error," added Tassa.

"I'd rather not download anything on my phone," said Ruth Huron, of Bethlehem. "It takes up space, and I'd rather simplify and put change in the meter."

The benefit of the ParkNow! system, people said, is the ability to pay only for the actual time you park your car and nothing more. There is a 35 cent transaction fee each time you park.

"If you were paying up front by coins for two hours, you would be paying $2," said Tassa. "In our system, if you only use one hour, it would be a $1.35, so you're saving, despite you still have a transaction fee, or convenience fee."

You do have to register for the ParkNow! system. Then you add money to the account like the EZ Pass system. ParkNow! will go online Friday.

To introduce the system, free parking vouchers will be handed out to people who sign up for the system. Workers will be handing out the vouchers during the First Friday event in south Bethlehem and at the Bethlehem rooftop beach party on the north side.

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