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Brentwood parking meters to get an app

| Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, 4:42 p.m.

Forget the quarters: A couple of taps on a smart phone could provide a new way for Brentwood shoppers to pay to park.

Council members, in a 6-0 vote Monday, approved an agreement with Crafton-based Meter Feeder to provide the borough's parking customers with the option to pay at the meter with a mobile application.

Councilman John Frombach was absent.

“It's going to help a lot of people in this generation that don't carry quarters,” police Chief Adam Zeppuhar said.

Meter Feeder is a tech startup that launched in November, said Brentwood resident Dan Lopretto, chief technology officer with the company. Dormont was the first to roll out the technology this year.

“It's going great,” Lopretto said, noting the app has brought in 2,000 users in Dormont since its April launch.

Homestead and Bellevue also have agreed to use the app, Lopretto said.

The trend in meters, Zeppuhar said, is going away from the traditional: Put in a quarter, twist, and go.

Brentwood leaders looked at upgrading the borough's meters to allow for payment through credit card, but found the cost for kiosks, like Pittsburgh has installed, would have been about $100,000, Zeppuhar said. Brentwood has meters on Brownsville Road in its three business districts.

Meter Feeder keeps the traditional pay-by-quarter devices, which Zeppuhar said some of the borough's residents like, while giving others the option to use their credit card.

The user would first need to download an app, which is available for both Android and iOS systems, then enter their license plate and credit card information into the app for payment.

The app will send notifications to users' phone alerting them when their time is running out and giving them the option to add more money to the meter.

The charge comes to the user, who pays a 30-cent convenience fee once a day when using the meter, Lopretto said. A 3.5 percent credit card fee also is added to the purchase.

Brentwood still gets the full meter charge.

Borough Manager George Zboyovsky said he hopes more people will pay at the meter because they now have an easier way to do it, which, in turn, could increase revenues.

The borough will spend about $4,000 to purchase equipment that will be used for enforcement.

First, meter staff walking the streets will see whether the device has any money listed for the time, Lopretto said. If not, they will use a smart phone or tablet to check and see whether the person has paid for parking using the app. If not, they will write a ticket.

Councilman Rich Schubert questioned how often the system fails to work.

Lopretto said it is guaranteed to work 99.9 percent of the time. If the system is down, police will be aware when writing parking tickets, leaders said.

Stickers will be added to meters alerting residents of the app's launch before it debuts at the start of 2016.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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