On Centre: Centre Region | New iPhone app makes paying parking tickets a breeze

April 4, 2014 

Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and … State College?

One of these may not seem like the others, but the communities are among the first to implement new technology that will allow residents to pay parking tickets with the cellphones in their pockets.

So, if you get a ticket while shopping in downtown State College, well, that’s right, there’s an app for that.

Borough parking manager Charles DeBow said that the app, which for now can only be downloaded on Apple devices here, gives people an easier way to pay.

“We’re always looking for ways to make paying more convenient,” DeBow said.

And it doesn’t cost the borough a penny. Those who use the service are charged $1 for each transaction. But if you’ve been known to stash tickets in your glove box, forgetting them and facing larger fines as each day goes by, the cost may be a bargain.

It works like this: Residents can use their iOS device to pay for parking tickets by scanning the bar code on the ticket or entering the violation number.

Enter the appropriate information, pick a payment option and you are done. The borough will even send an email confirming the payment.

The borough is partnering with TicketZen, a leading provider of mobile parking ticket payments, to bring the system here.

State College joins some big name cities as the first to implement the technology.

And that’s because DeBow saw an early article about the program and reached out to TicketZen.

“State College sort of sticks out there if you look at other cities they’re working with,” he said. “We hopped on this one pretty fast.”

For TicketZen, the borough offered a chance to show that the technology can succeed not just in a large metropolitan area, but also in a smaller market.

“State College is a milestone launch for TicketZen,” co-founder Cort Johnson said in a statement. “While TicketZen’s patented technology is available in major metropolitan cities, such as Chicago, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, it was important for us to demonstrate the mobile application in a tech-savvy, smaller market.

“State College is an innovative city with a savvy student population, and we are thrilled to be at the center of the (borough’s) mobile strategy,” he said in the statement.

The technology should soon be spreading.

TicketZen is launching its mobile parking ticket payment systems in 100 cities across the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia.

Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.

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