Meter Maid makes it possible to pay for parking in just a few seconds using your mobile phone.
Paid parking 1.0 - Old school paid parking
'Old style' paid street parking involves the driver inserting coins or cards into a parking meter and estimating how much time is needed. This prepaid system has not much going for it from a driver's point of view. Machines do not always work, the meters can be difficult to operate, enough coins or a working card needs to be at hand and last but not least; if your dentist appointment takes half an hour longer you'll get a parking ticket as a bonus.
Paid parking 2.0 - The introduction of paid parking service providers
One of the building blocks of the application is the use of paid parking provider services. In The Netherlands companies such as ParkMobile, Park-line, SMSParking and Yellow Brick provide the possibility to post-pay for street parking by registering your arrival and departure with them. Parking attendants carry PDA's and check if you have registered or not by inputting licence plate numbers. The registration can be done using a phone call, texting (SMS) or a web site. The services of these parking providers usually require a subscription.
Schematically the parking process looks like this:
1. Arrive at parking place
2. Register Arrival using your mobile phone
3. Leave the car
4. Return at the car
5. Register departure using your mobile phone
7. Post-pay via automatic billing
This system has many advantages, you will never pay too much or too little and do not need correct change. Another big advantage is that you do not need to return to the parking meter to refill when your errand takes more time then anticipated.
Paid parking 3.0 - Meter Maid steps in
Compared to 'old style' paid parking the new system is a huge improvement. However, step 2 and step 5 still require some time and effort of the user. You have to find out the zone code that you are located in and manually register it through a not so user friendly interface with the provider. The zone code consists of several digits and can be hard to find or read from where your parked. Also you have to register this code in a way that can take some time and effort, especially if you are not used to it. This is where Meter Maid helps out.
The application provides a simple interface with a 'start parking' and a 'stop parking' button. The application will suggest a zone code using GPS or allow you to use a zone code from the bookmarks. It will send the text (SMS) messages for the user in the required format or send transaction details to the parking provider via internet.
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