SCRANTON -- Out of quarters? There's an app for that!
In the city of Scranton, some of the old parking meters used to require coins. On Tuesday, city leaders started a new program that allows drivers to feed those meters using their smart phone.
City crews put up signs on the streets and put stickers on all the parking meters, letting drivers know that if you have a smart phone, quarters are no longer necessary.
It's part of a trial run with a company called Pango. They have an app that allows you to pay the meter through your smart phone and then sends you a text if you're about to run out of time.
A plastic brain about the size of a compact car was parallel parked and causing quite the spectacle in downtown Scranton. It was a prop meant to promote the city's new smart parking system called Pango.
Officials with Pango stood on the street to teach drivers how they can pay to park with their smart phones. All this came from an idea Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty had.
"(We) noticed it with our children when we'd go to the Redbox to get videos. You're only spending $1.32 but everyone pays with their cell phone. AND i realized that this could work in the downtown."
Mayor Doherty says more young people live downtown and those people have their lives on their cell phones. Plus he hopes the service will net more meter revenue for the city. Pango is an app that uses a credit card to pay the parking meter and sends a text when you're running out of time.
Pango is already underway in Scranton.
You'll start to see stickers on all city meters giving you the information you need to pay for parking with your smart phone. it will still say "expired" on the meter though so, how do the parking officers know that you've paid for your parking?
Pango's creator Dani Shavit showed us how meter maids will now tote iPads. They enter your license number to see if you've paid or not.
"The nice thing is, in the same moment, I'm the parker here and this is the message I get as a parker, that parking enforcement just checked my car and I was found paying with Pango."
On a day of pouring rain, the idea of going outside and feeding the meter had employees at Pizza by Pappas groaning. They think they'll use Pango so they can feed the meter just by whipping out their smart phone.
"Everyone's on their phone anymore. It's technology that's the era that we're in. i think a lot of people will be using just for convenience, like E-Zpass, it was great when it first came out and now almost everyone has it," said Colleen Weaver.
You can download the Pango app on iTunes or on the Android market. It's free. Plus the folks at Pango say anyone who downloads the app in the next month will get 10 free hours of parking.