Use of the cell phone app Parkmobile would not replace meters along downtown streets, the train station and other Ridgewood parking lots, and would pose “very little if any” cost to taxpayers, according to a presentation made by Village Engineer Chris Rutishauser Wednesday night.
Users would be able to download the application, which is currently used by the Borough of Glen Rock, to their smart phones, providing payment and license plate information in a one-time registration. When parking, the user would scan a sticker at the parking space and enter the amount of time desired. A text message reminder would be sent to users 15 minutes prior to the expiration of their time.
On the municipality’s end,
payments would be immediately transferred to the village and the users' information made accessible to parking enforcers.
The company would not charge the village for implementing the system, but would rather obtain revenue from users through a 35-40 cent convenience charge each time they parked, or $1 on a monthly pass.
That convenience charge would more than double the cost of parking in a street parking space for a half hour, or in a parking lot space for an hour. So aside from the luxury of not carrying quarters, the benefit would be seen mostly by commuters or others who put longer periods of time on the meters.
“It becomes more cost efficient for the user at places like the train station where you’re parking all day,” Rutishauser said.
The council’s discussion of the
proposition focused on whether other options for a mobile app service should
be sought that could provide the service at a lower cost.
Councilman Tom Riche suggested
that the village “cast a net” by putting out a formal request for proposals to
gauge other options, a suggestion others on the council agreed with.
“We know there are other providers, and I think we have an obligation to hear from them,” said Deputy Mayor Albert Pucciarelli.
According to Parkmobile, the
application has been revenue generating for many other municipalities by
cutting costs and increasing convenience. The app would also eliminate free riders using leftover time on meters, as mobile payments would be linked to license plate information.
The council asked to hear presentations from other providers before making a decision on moving forward.
“I’ve been asking for this for so long,” said Councilwoman Gwenn Hauck. “Whatever gets us options instead of quarters…is fine with me.”