New parking meter app may come to East Lansing soon

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By Andrea Urban
Entirely East Lansing

East Lansing parking administrators are working with a company on an app that might allow you to pay for your parking meter through the app on your phone.

The app is called PassportParking Mobile Pay. It’s the first pay-by-phone service provider to offer different forms of mobile payments.

PassportParking can be used and synced only with a specific type of parking meter. IPS meters connect with the mobile app, manage data, process credit and debit cards, and accept quarters.

PassportParking would let you check your meter by its number. You would be able to see how much time is left on the meter, get alerts for when the time is almost up, and have the option to renew the meter just by using the app.

IPS Group, a telecommunications and parking company, that has created these IPS meters that are technologically advance and that the app would work with.

On April 9, the city’s parking administration installed 10 new IPS meters on Albert Avenue and Charles Street. The city plans on testing these 10 meters for 90 days before purchasing more.
“The IPS meters cost about $500 each, but they are more efficient and up to date with the technologies available today,” said East Lansing’s parking administrator, Dan O’Connor.

The city is taking this new idea one step at a time. The current meters placed in East Lansing for testing do not connect to the PassportParking app but they do accept debit and credit cards.

One reason why the city has looked into using IPS meters is because Michigan State University has installed them throughout the campus and is are getting successful feedback.

“One of the things we like to do is we try to be consistent with what goes on on campus. We try to have the same equipment throughout campus and the downtown,” said O’Connor.

“I love the idea of this! I use the meters on Albert Avenue often when East Lansing High School’s parking lot is full,” said Krista Bell,a mother of children who attend ELHS.

Parking administration is going to take the next year to make official decisions on the meters and app. According to parking administration, figuring out a funding strategy and how these could generate more revenue is a very important step.

“I work out at the Hannah Community Center and it would be so convenient if I could know how much time I had left on my parking meter instead of always risking a ticket,” said Luke Kalinski, a student who has been living in East Lansing for three years.

The city hopes to have made final decisions on these meters and phone app by the summer of 2016. For now, you can test out the newly installed IPS meters on Albert Avenue or Charles Street in East Lansing.

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