Reducing operational complexity with a single, best-in-class vendor
New Hope, Pennsylvania is a borough of 2,500 residents, occupying an area of only a square mile along the banks of the scenic Delaware River. However, despite its small footprint, New Hope’s unique mix of scenery, historical sights, restaurants, shopping, and events draw in over a million visitors per year. New Hope’s popularity as a vacation spot only continues to rise, making convenient access to paid public parking a high priority. However, until relatively recently, the only way to pay for parking was with old coin-fed parking meters.
In recent years, New Hope has made a big effort to update their parking infrastructure as the borough grows and customer expectations evolve. In 2015, New Hope took a bold step forward by introducing visitors to ParkMobile’s modern, best-in-class mobile payment solution. ParkMobile steadily gained popularity because of its ease of use and customer service. “People loved the app because they don’t have to rush back to a meter to pay. It’s a great addition to our parking system,” says Laurie McHugh of the New Hope Borough Council.
There are currently around 440 street-level parking spaces and a growing number of private lots.
Trying a Multi-Vendor Approach to Mobile Payment
In 2018, New Hope made another big change in their paid parking infrastructure. The old coin-fed meters were taken out and replaced with kiosks. At the same time, they decided to roll out a second mobile payment vendor with the hope that more ways to pay would increase compliance and ease the transition. “I think we went into it thinking, ‘well, more is better,’” recalls Laura Kent, who was brought on to assist with the 2018 multivendor rollout.
A multi-vendor system also created unnecessary hurdles in backend maintenance. Without a single point for technical support, even minor issues like coordinating consistent zoning between vendors meant constantly bouncing back and forth between different support teams. In the end, usage numbers between ParkMobile and the second vendor revealed a clear winner. Visitors showed a strong preference for ParkMobile, with mobile adoption rates only continuing to rise. During the same two-year period, public adoption of the second mobile payment vendor never rose over one percent. However, instead of increasing compliance, the sudden addition of extra mobile payment options was widely greeted with confusion, leading to further enforcement issues. “We were just trying to give every option, but sometimes offering too many options isn’t good. It just confuses people,” Ms. McHugh notes.
You have to look at the public and what they have on their phone. And most people have ParkMobile.” – Laura Kent, Administrative Assistant
Providing a Superior Best-in-Class User Experience
In 2020, the New Hope Parking Committee chose to remove the second mobile payment vendor, restoring ParkMobile as the sole mobile payment option. Ms. McHugh and Ms. Kent say the decision was easy once they reviewed the data. “We did not see any benefit to having the second vendor, as the lion’s share of mobile purchases are done through ParkMobile,” Ms. Kent stated.
ParkMobile’s convenient features and intuitive interface cemented it as a clear favorite in New Hope. Further, the adoption of ParkMobile also helped many customers make a smoother transition into the new modern parking infrastructure. Ms. McHugh notes that while removing the meters was an alarming change for many, “for people who knew ParkMobile, it was seamless.”
ParkMobile’s exceptional service and support was another big driver in returning to a single vendor system. “Across the board, if I had an issue with ParkMobile, it was resolved quickly,” Ms. Kent said. Enforcement and compliance were also easier to manage with ParkMobile. Reflecting on the decision to go multivendor Ms. Kent says, “You have to look at the public and what they have on their phone. And most people have ParkMobile.”
For New Hope, access to simple, convenient parking is an essential component to both keep tourism thriving and help local businesses flourish in the off-season. With ParkMobile restored as a single, best-in-class mobile payment vendor, the borough enjoys cost savings from fewer fees and a marked increase in operational efficiency. Now, New Hope is spending less time on clearing up confusion and fixing technical hiccups, and more time improving the parking experience for residents and visitors. The parking committee is now considering ParkMobile’s help in implementing numerous on-demand parking options like discounted weekday parking and reserved parking.