New machines are like Steve Austin: "Better than before. Better, stronger & faster."
For the multitudes of you who have hated the multi-space parking machines the town installed five years ago take heart as all 12 could be replaced as early as this summer with much more user friendly ones from another company, which promises a more Apple computer like experience with their high tech gizmos.
This morning the Downtown Parking Working Group heard a one hour sales presentation for the Parkeon machines and DPW Director Guilford Mooring and Parking Czar Claire McGinnis will check out the other company that is on the state buying list but both seemed impressed with this particular product.
Current machines are hard to maintain in harsh New England environment
The town paid $110,000 for the Duncan machines but then soon had to add a lighted kiosk around them because the tiny monochrome screen was so hard to read at night and hard wired all of them because the batteries were not overly reliable, at an additional cost of about $25,000.
The current machines also used aging 2G transmission and the slow response of the keypad often causes user input errors. And since they don't give a paper receipt,first time users are often left confused.
The Parkeon machines have been in use in Northampton for 12 years so are New England weather proven and are built like B52 bombers: an indestructible outer steel shell designed to be upgraded with plug and play parts.
The base cost of the new machines is $85,000 but with a couple of bells and whistles will probably cost around the same as the original machines they are replacing. Although they come solar equipped the town will use the hard wiring already installed in the same kiosk locations.
The machines can be programmed for either pay by space or license plate number or since it has a print function can also do the older style "pay and display" taking credit card or change. And with the mobile app available consumers can conveniently pay online right from their ubiquitous smartphone.
The 7" color hi definition screen can be customized to display the town logo and can run commercials for local businesses with the printed ticket displaying a coupon offer.
Downtown Parking Working Group at work
Clearly a double win for businesses in the downtown ... and everyday consumers.