Gables Revives Parkbyphone Program
Written by Risa Polansky on August 31, 2006
By Risa Polansky
Coral Gables’ park-by-phone program was revived last week after a three-month suspension.
The city and service provider Mint mutually agreed to discontinue the program in late May after the company said it was having "communications difficulties," said William Carlson, the city’s director of parking. "Clearly it wasn’t to the advantage of our customer-client base to do business with a company that couldn’t guarantee effective communication," he said.
The city has hired Clancy Systems International of Denver to provide the service, which Mr. Carlson said is "considerably better than what we had. It’s more simplified."
Customers can register online or by phone to join the program, through which they pay a $5.95 annual fee and a consolidated monthly bill for all parking plus a 10% convenience charge rather than using coins or cards at a parking meter.
Members receive a card to display on their dashboard. They give an automated attendant their PIN and parking numbers when they call.
"We’re having a very good response," said Liz Wolfson, chief financial officer for Clancy. "There were a lot of people who used the system prior, so a lot of people are re-signing up, and there are a lot of inquiries from new people."
Clancy operates Park-by-Phone systems in Colorado, California, Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia and Puerto Rico.
Mr. Carlson said the Mint program was adding more than 200 customers a month before it was discontinued, and "we have an expectation that we will, as time goes by, have more than before."
"It’s a program that’s catching on because of its tremendous convenience," Ms. Wolfson said. "This is for people who utilize on-street and surface parking all the time."
Because patrons are charged at the end of each month, the company won’t have a customer count until the end of this billing cycle, Ms. Wolfson said.Details: www.parkinghelp.com, 1-888-310-PARK in English, 1-888-350-PARK in Spanish.