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Smartphone app allows drivers in Syracuse to pay for parking remotely

Tom Magnarelli
New Whoosh signs on the electronic parking meters.

A new smartphone app being used by the city of Syracuse will allow drivers to pay for parking without going to the meter. The app, called Whoosh, was developed by Parkeon, the same company that provides Syracuse with its electronic parking meters.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said the app is being tested on 90 of the 280 meters in the city, mainly in Armory Square. 

Credit Tom Magnarelli / WRVO
A map of the 90 out of 280 parking meters in the city of Syracuse now equipped to use Whoosh.

“Our focus was not on revenue," said Miner. "Our focus was convenience to the user and to get around that old conundrum that people talk about, ‘I don’t come downtown because I don’t want to walk through snowbanks to pay the parking meter.’ Once again, we’re on the cutting edge of using technology in the city of Syracuse to make people’s lives easier.”

The app sends a notification when your time limit is about to expire and allows the user to add more time remotely. It does not allow for exceeding the two hour maximum time limit in effect at city meters. 

Miner said the app, available on Apple and Android devices, will make it easier for people to come downtown.

“Rather than focused on 'how do we get through the snowbank to go put our money in the parking meter,' or when they said, ‘the meter wouldn’t take our money or our coins or our credit cards', that’s going to be eliminated as well,” said Miner.

There is a 35 cent convenience fee for every transaction that goes to Parkeon. Parking enforcement officers will be able to check a license plate electronically to see if someone has paid, so no parking receipts are needed. Syracuse is the first city in the United States to use this particular app although similar apps are used in other cities. Until now, Whoosh has been primarily used in the United Kingdom and France.