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Ohio University has soft launched the new meter system on part of the Athens Campus, and drivers can pay for parking at some meters with their smart phones using the ParkMobile app. The meters will continue going online next week and should be fully implemented by July 1.
Metered areas by Bird Arena, Grover Center and Porter Hall are now online, and the rest will make the switch the week of June 23, explained OHIO Director of Transportation & Parking Services Martin Paulins. “The meters are the same, but if you don’t have coins you can pay for parking with your smart phone,” he said. “If you don’t have a smart phone, there’s a toll free number you can call.”
The University has contracted with ParkMobile, a global provider for mobile payments and parking guidance, to provide the service to campus, and the hope is to provide students, parents, faculty, staff and the community with an alternative to searching for coins.
With the new service, drivers can download the ParkMobile app, connect their credit card to the service, scan the QR Code located on the parking meter, set the amount of time needed, and continue to their destination. Drivers also can receive a text message when their time is about to expire, so additional time can be added from their smart phone as needed.
"It will show you where your car is parked, and you can get a satellite image of the area for those who are unfamiliar with Athens,” Paulins said.
The change is one of several being implemented this summer that are designed to make traveling throughout the campus community easier. “It’s a huge step in customer service and a benefit for the University community,” Paulins said.
The University also has contracted with DoubleMap to provide GPS tracking on all CATS shuttles, meaning a rider can follow the location of the bus by downloading the DoubleMap app to their smart phone. The service will start at the beginning of fall semester, and CATS service hours of operation will be extended from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Another new service introduced this fall is provided by TapRide, which will replace the service currently offered by the Ohio University Police Department’s Safe T Patrol. TapRide is a late night on-demand transportation service operated by OHIO Transportation & Parking from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
The new TapRide service will allow passengers to download an app onto their smart phones to schedule a ride. The request will go to an iPad in a CATS shuttle, the driver will acknowledge the request and a confirmation with an expected wait time will be sent back to the person requesting the service. The user can use the GPS tracking option to learn when the CATS vehicle is outside their door.
The outside surface parking lot of Baker University Center also will become paid parking instead of faculty and staff parking. This area will be tied into ParkMobile, and will utilize solar powered pay stations that accept cash and credit cards.
Article by Gretchen Gregory of OU Compass