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Cape May City Elects to Stay With ParkMobile

Cape May City Elects to Stay With ParkMobile

By Vince Conti

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CAPE MAY – The City Council has awarded a new contract to ParkMobile, the smartphone app that the city uses for residents and visitors who want to park in the city during the period from April 1 to Oct. 31.

With the new contract, approved by the council March 19, came a better deal for city taxpayers.

Under the old arrangement, a user transaction fee was paid by the individual parking in the city. In addition, ParkMobile earned a flat fee and percentage of each transaction from the city.

With the new deal, the city and its taxpayers pay nothing for employing ParkMobile. A flat fee is charged to the user of the app when the transaction is under $2.67, and a percentage of the transaction is charged to the app user when the parking fee is over $2.67.

ParkMobile has no monopoly in the city, which still has other ways for drivers to pay to park. As Mayor Zack Mullock said, “My own parents don’t have a smartphone.” Mullock said he feels options will be necessary for some time yet.

Back in December, the City Council acted on a recommendation from its Municipal Taxation and Revenue Advisory Committee and decided to reexamine its relationship with ParkMobile.

The city collected contracts from the other Cape May County municipalities that use a parking app for paid parking; all of those towns currently use ParkMobile. Analyzing the contracts was part of a process that also included going out to bid for parking app vendors.

Turning away from ParkMobile turned out to be something the city could not justify; the deals available through the bid process were not compelling enough to override the many benefits of staying with the app.

There are several reasons why it would be tough to change. ParkMobile is the app that many people already have on their phones; they have preloaded the app with their necessary vehicle and credit card information. It is the one app they already know how to use.

“Being the one town in the county that uses a different app would present obvious problems,” Mullock said.

Mullock said he expects the city to maintain a number of parking meters along Beach Avenue. He also said the city is considering installing three kiosks in the Washington Street Mall area for those visitors and shoppers who don’t use a smartphone.

The plan to keep alternative methods of payment may cost the city something in efficiency, but it is a service to its thousands of visitors that Mullock says is important to maintain.

Contact the author, Vince Conti, at vconti@cmcherald.com.

Reporter

Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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