Scranton, PA, says ‘goodbye’ to quarters and ‘hello’ to elite touch screens

Moorestown, NJ – Back in the late 1800s, the City of Scranton, Pennsylvania established the nation’s first successful, continuously-operating electrified streetcar (trolley) system, inspiring the nickname “Electric City.”  Now, approximately 130 years later, the City has reached another significant milestone in its mobility history by partnering with Flowbird Group to launch a new pay-by-plate parking system to support visitor flexibility and ease. On September 17th, ABM Parking, the company managing the city’s parking meters and garages, began installation of 193 Flowbird CWT Stealth digital kiosks throughout the downtown core.

Scranton’s Flowbird kiosks will ultimately replace the city’s single space parking meters. Each street will feature a new digital kiosk conveniently placed along each block. After parking, visitors can walk to any kiosk, enter their license plate information, and pay for their selected time. The updated system will use license plate technology, allowing visitors ultimate flexibility. Unlike the old parking meters, the kiosks don’t correspond to any specific parking space, meaning motorists may pay for time at one kiosk and park anywhere in the city.

Local Scranton resident David Eisenberg, whose apartment building is just outside of one of the new kiosks, has welcomed the update in technology, “The best part is, let’s say you pay for parking for two hours and you’ve got to run an errand real quick. You come back and you can park in any spot because you’ve already paid for the parking, which is nice. As opposed to last time, you had to park in the same spot.”

The stainless steel kiosks run on solar power, feature a large full-color touch screen with customized interface, and offer multiple payment options including quarters, credit cards and payment via mobile app. The only thing a visitor needs is their license plate number. As ABM explains it, simply remember: park, plate, pay.  Each transaction is transmitted to enforcement officers digitally.

“Physically, it’s more robust,” said Robert “Bud” Sweet, director of the National Development Council. “There’s less infrastructure on the street in terms of the old meters and, unlike the old meters, which would pretty much just receive money, this is interactive. It can tell you the amount of turnover of the spaces, the frequency of the stays. It gives us an idea in terms of use of any block face in the city.”

With all kiosks wirelessly communicating to Flowbird’s web based back-office system, the City will not only be able to analyze parking activity trends, but it will also be able to streamline operations.  Each kiosk communicates if it needs attention from maintenance staff or if it needs to be collected.  This leads to high uptime and gives parkers a system it can trust.

The new system is currently undergoing installation, available around Courthouse Square and various blocks throughout Downtown. City officials anticipate completion towards the end of the year, replacing all old meters in the city.

Currently, Flowbird supports over 40,000 parking pay stations for 600 customers throughout the U.S.  This project allows the company to expand its presence in Pennsylvania where it currently partners with many cities and towns such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Jim Thorpe, New Hope and Williamsport.