Futuristic Parking Meters Descend Upon State College
Face it: feeding the meter sucks. It’s basically a black hole that eats all the loose change you find on the floor of your car. With our fancy LionCash and credit cards it’s hard to come by change, and when you do, it’s never enough for the amount of time you need. Not to mention the anxiety of getting your errands done before your meter runs dry and sets off the “Spidey Sense” of any nearby meter maids. Well Penn State, your hero has arrived…
Parkmobile, a company that specializes in electronic parking meters, has officially arrived in State College. What is Parkmobile you might ask? Well, as the name suggests, Parkmobile takes the parking meter concept to a whole new level by allowing you to pay with a credit card through your smart phone or computer. You can still pay the traditional way with paper bills and coins, but those who opt for plastic payment get a special perk. When paying, the meter asks for your phone number, so it can then text you whenever you are close to running out of time. Do you feel that? That’s the cloud of anxiety lifting off your poor parking-meter-abused soul.
There’s an app you can download for free on any smart phone to make the payment process easier, or you could just visit Parkmobile’s website and pay from a computer. Overall the system makes parking downtown a lot less stressful, however, it does have a few quirks. You need to enter your license plate number before each transaction. As someone who still hasn’t memorized their student ID number you can see how this sounds a bit inconvenient. And although you can pay in cash, the Parkmobile meters don’t give back change, so if you have a wallet full of 2os and no credit card they aren’t any more convenient than their previous counterparts.
Even with these slight hang ups the system shows a great deal of promise and ease to anyone who has to park downtown on a regular basis. I, for one, am certainly looking forward to freeing myself from the shackles of parking meter oppression, one text at a time.