Offering a New and Improved Mobile Parking Experience
The City of El Paso, Texas is located along the U.S.-Mexico border on the far western side of the state. With close proximity to the neighboring cities of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and Las Cruces, New Mexico, the City of El Paso has always been accommodating to a diverse community of both residents and visitors traveling into town for local dining, shopping, and entertainment. El Paso has approximately 2,000 active single-space parking meters throughout the city. Additionally, the city has three city-owned parking garages – two located downtown and one located uptown.
Switching to a Best-in-Breed Mobile Parking Payment Provider
The City of El Paso first started providing a mobile payment option to its customers in 2015 as part of the city’s deal with its meter vendor. “We wanted to offer our constituents another option for payment because carrying around quarters just wasn’t convenient anymore,” says Paul Stresow, Assistant Director of the International Bridges Department for City of El Paso.
In 2018, the City of El Paso performed a downtown parking study and discovered that 58% of customers were unaware that a mobile payment option was available to them – showing that customer awareness was a major problem for the app. By 2019, the city decided to switch from the previous mobile app provider to ParkMobile in order to improve awareness, increase user adoption, and add some innovative new features that would help drivers find available parking spots in the area.
“Now that customers can see parking availability ahead of time, they no longer have to circle in search of a spot, reducing traffic congestion. Additionally, the public feels more comfortable processing a mobile payment when they see time reflected on the meter.” -Paul Stresow, Assistant Director of the International Bridges Department for City of El Paso
Implementing ParkMobile in El Paso
Prior to launch of the new Park915 app, powered by ParkMobile, the city performed the necessary back-end work to double check inventory, integrate meters with the app, and set time limits at each location. The city then tested every meter, ensuring that customers would be able to view parking availability and see their time registered on the meters when processing a mobile payment. “Now that customers can see parking availability ahead of time, they no longer have to circle in search of a spot, reducing traffic congestion. Additionally, the public feels more comfortable processing a mobile payment when they see time reflected on the meter,” says Stresow.
Popular venues in El Paso, including the Plaza Theatre, the Convention and Performing Arts Center, and the Abraham Chavez Theatre, also feature parking reservations through ParkMobile. “With the new app, customers can reserve parking for events at our off-street locations, alleviating the struggles that come from finding parking downtown,” says Stresow.
El Paso By the Numbers
2,000 On-Street Parking Spaces
3 Parking Garages
13,500+ App Downloads Since October 2019
To educate customers about the app, Stresow gave interviews on the city’s major networks in English and Spanish. Additionally, signage was updated across the city, and ParkMobile premium items, including wallet cards, koozies, and pens, were passed out to the city’s residents and business community. The City of El Paso’s internal staff also made table tents and issued coasters to restaurants and bars uptown and downtown for distribution to customers. “The new Park915 app, powered by ParkMobile, was really well received,” says Stresow. “It’s not just another way to pay. You’re able to view parking availability, you’re able to find your car afterwards, you’re able to reserve parking at a garage for an event, and you’re able to use the app as you travel to other cities.”
“ParkMobile has been so willing to help us with implementation and marketing post-launch. It’s been a great partnership with a lot of continued support,” says Stresow. With the city’s previous mobile app provider, there were only 6,000 app downloads in the span of three years. Since the launch of the newly improved Park915 app in October 2019, there have already been over 13,500 downloads, and utilization of the app versus the meter has gone from just 3% to over 12%. “We knew what we wanted this time around, and we found the provider that could give it to us,” says Stresow.
The City of El Paso eventually wants to integrate payment for all transit into the Park915 app, including the city’s newly refurbished streetcars and public transit system. Additionally, the city wants to invite more privately-owned garages to participate in the app’s on-demand and reservation parking features. “Everything is trending up, but we want to do a second marketing push to continue working off of such a successful launch and continue raising awareness,” says Stresow. The city plans to implement more signage and further its marketing push to keep adoption rate growing. “We’re satisfied, but we know we can still go further,” says Stresow.