City sees almost 20 percent increase in parking meter revenue as coin-only option phases out

Revenue from parking meters has continued to climb, with the Pango Mobile Parking pay-by-phone meter service bringing in more than $26,000 this past year. (Jade Carter/DD)

Parking meter use increased within the last year, bringing more revenue into Phoenix, as well as a successful second year for the city’s pay-by-phone option.

The revenue coming from parking meters downtown for the 2015-2016 fiscal year was around $3.3 million, an increase of about 18 percent from the previous year, with an estimated increase of 11 percent looking ahead to the next fiscal year, according to street transportation director, Ray Dovalina.

In April the city added more meters to help with many of the events that attract crowds along Roosevelt Row, Dovalina said.

Related: New parking meters coming to Roosevelt Row in near future to increase turnover

Since 2014, the percentage of the city’s meters that take credit cards has jumped from 40 percent to 76 percent, in an attempt to make parking more convenient.

Revenue from Phoenix’s pay-by-phone parking meter service through the contractor Pango Mobile Parking nearly doubled over last year.

The contract was signed in November 2014 to provide the service free of charge from the city. It was initially for a one-year term, with two optional one-year terms if the city was pleased with the revenue Pango brought.

Related: Contract for Phoenix pay-by-phone parking meter service extended

Pango makes its money through small user fees charged to the customer each time they use the app.

Phoenix has made around $26,000 through Pango this year, $11,000 more than last year, Dovalina said. Pango has just under 6,400 registered users — 2,500 downloads this year alone with 350 new users signing up monthly, according to Dovalina.

Phoenix is working with Pango and local businesses to promote the service and get more local support behind the app. District 5 Councilman Daniel Valenzuela said he supported the service because when people know about it, it makes parking in downtown much easier.

“It sends the right message that we are a modern city,” Valenzuela said.

District 4 Councilwoman Laura Pastor expressed concerns she had heard from residents who had used Pango but had still received a parking tickets on several occasions.

“There is always growing pains when rolling out a new item,” Pastor said.

Pastor said she was pleased overall with how Pango was doing in Phoenix.

According to Dovalina, there were glitches early on in the program that caused people who used Pango to still get parking tickets, but he said the city has been working with parking enforcement to prevent this type of glitch.

Dovalina said that since the initial glitches were fixed there have been fewer complaints about Pango.

Of the 2,000 parking meters in the downtown area, the city still has to convert 350 coin operated parking meters into the new credit card meters, most of which are in the outlying areas of downtown Phoenix, where they are not used as often as others. Some only receive $10 a month, according to Scott Logan, interim deputy director of traffic services.

The contract with Pango will extend through Nov. 30, 2016. Dovalina said the city staff may request the city to extend the contract for a third year from Dec. 1 to November of 2017, after which the city may choose to sign a new contract with Pango or choose a new service provider altogether.

Contact the reporter at kmlane5@asu.edu