TRAFFIC SPEEDING by the New York Times building 370.
(photo credit: Reuters)
NEW YORK – In the largest market for passenger vehicles in the world, the
economics of parking for American cities is often lose-lose.
purchasing cost of a lot, the construction of a garage, and the upkeep of
facilities and services are all significant burdens for cities where public
officials are often reluctant to price parking to match the extraordinary demand
of its drivers. Local governments often fear that the more parking they provide,
the more they’ll encourage people to drive, only increasing demand.
one company is looking to change that gridlocked dynamic by incentivizing
drivers to pay with the promise of a spot with easy access and entry. With the
same amount of effort required to look up Yelp reviews of a restaurant or the
average Rotten Tomatoes rating for a movie, consumers will now be able to use
Pango, a smartphone-based app created in Israel, to reserve a parking spot in
the facility where they will be spending their evening, and have their car paid
for and prepared by valet at the end of the night.
The MobyDom, Ltd. app
tells consumers where spots are available and how much they’ll be paying for
parking that evening, a transaction that can be completed through the
And the app enables services in surrounding facilities to offer
vouchers or discounts to customers for their business.
It’s hard to avoid
Pango in Tel Aviv, where the meter signs are everywhere.
A whopping 89
percent of parking payments in all of Israel are made through the app, which
first started operating in 2006. Now operating in 47 cities throughout Israel
and eastern Europe, Pango is entering the US market with confidence from its
past successes, starting in Phoenix, Arizona, Baltimore County and New York
“We’re helping cities with capacity management,” Neil Edwards,
president of PangoUSA, told The Jerusalem Post. “Cities can get bad reputations
from ticketing revenue. Pango presents a much softer side to traffic
enforcement, and makes parking more business friendly, which is really important
when you’re talking about urban redevelopment.” In addition to reducing costs
for cities, Pango hopes to do for parking what apps like Uber are doing for taxi
services: provide a value-added app to commuters that justifies cost with the
luxury of ease.
“People coming in [to New York] to go to the theater from
New Jersey take advantage of discount rates.
They shop for parking just
like they shop for discount rooms,” said Bill Lerner, president of Imperial
Parking Systems, New York City’s largest garage operator and the city’s first
adoptee of Pango. “Most people, when they come into the city, already know where
they’re going to park.”
Lerner expects to increase his topline numbers
and the amount of traffic he sees in Imperial’s 110 garages while decreasing the
“human factor” currently required of his employees, shaking up a business model
that has been effectively stagnant for over 50 years.
“When you break
down barriers to entry in any transaction, revenues grow,” says Jeff Moloznik,
general manager of the CityScape complex in Arizona that houses over 50
retailers and a five-star hotel. “And the ability for our retailers to interact
directly with consumers is going to prove really valuable.”
But the true
value of a service like Pango will only come with ubiquity, and recognizing
this, PangoUSA is looking beyond retail structures, working on partnerships with
hospitals and local governments to provide street-side parking as
Phoenix’s Mayor Greg Stanton called Pango a perfect example of how
“innovation is creating a great urban core.”
“If you’re a doctor at
hospital on Lexington and 77th street, you can literally push the get-my-car
button on Pango and its ready when you are,” said Edwards. “That changes the
dynamic of parking, which has traditionally been passive in our cities.”