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More Reliable Mobile Parking App on Campus

The+new+parking+meters%2C+where+drivers+can+pay+parking+fees+through+an+app+called+Passport
The new parking meters, where drivers can pay parking fees through an app called Passport

The new parking meters, where drivers can pay parking fees through an app called Passport

Whitney Bolar for The Easterner

Whitney Bolar for The Easterner

The new parking meters, where drivers can pay parking fees through an app called Passport

By Colette-Janae Buck, Chief Copy Editor

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EWU’s street parking options received a makeover last September when campus parking services adopted a pay-by-app system, giving students the option to pay their meter fee with an app called ParkX.

The new way to pay for on campus street parking didn’t come without its bugs.

EWU students Melissa Roys and Alicia Villa reported attempting to use the app to pay for their parking, entering their credit or debit card information and then never receiving confirmation that their payment went through because the app crashed. Both students said they were issued a parking citation in spite of the app failing to register their payments.

After a quarter-long run, ParkX was bought out by Passport in December 2016, which forced EWU to adopt Passport’s new app in order to continue to use the pay-by-app system.

John Berdis, Parking Services Supervisor, said they only became aware of the reported crashes to the app during the transition time between ParkX and Passport.

“ParkX did not crash prior to the transition,” said Berdis. “The crashes actually happened when [Passport] was trying to merge the two apps together over to Passport.”

It was the final consolidation of the ParkX and Passport apps that  Michelle Rasmussen, director of parking and transportation services, said helped resolve the crashing issue.

“Once Passport went away from ParkX, Passport stopped having problems with the crashing,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen also said that students may have continued to have issues with the parking app crashing because they continued to use the ParkX app instead of Passport.

“It was winter and we could not change the stickers on the meters until it warmed up,” said Rasmussen. “When it did [warm up], we replaced the stickers and went completely with Passport, meaning the people needed to download a completely new app.”

During the transition and consolidation of the two apps, parking supervisor John Berdis said the issuing of parking citations ceased because neither of the apps were reliable enough to correctly tell who had paid for their parking and who had not.

Now, with the Passport pay-by-app system up and running smoothly since April 1, Rasmussen and Berdis said the biggest concern the transportation and parking department has is with the way students are using the app.

“[Students] are not registering their plates,” said Berdis. “The only way [parking services] can tell if someone has paid is by their plates.”

In the Passport app, students are required to create an account by entering their email. Then, in order to park in any of the meter zones, students must put in their license plate number along with a credit or debit card of their choice.

Students who enter their license plate number or parking zone number incorrectly can be ticketed because of these discrepancies.

However, students may receive one warning for any slight inconsistencies in plates, and after that, students may take their on-campus parking citation to an appeals board, which Rasmussen said will usually overturn the citation if the student can prove the license plate they entered in the app was close enough to the actual plate.

“It has been a real learning experience,” said Berdis. “The plates have to be accurate.”

For parking citations issued on city street parking, such as meter parking spots on Washington, Elm and Fifth streets, students wishing to appeal the citations must be done in Cheney Municipal Court.

Rasmussen and Berdis said that the best way to avoid getting a ticket for a parking infraction is to contact parking services and relay the problem. If students have a problem with the Passport Parking app, Rasmussen advises students to use the bug report button inside the app.

“EWU Parking gets a notification as soon as passport gets the report,” said Rasmussen. “If the communication is there, we give them the benefit of the doubt.”  

 

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More Reliable Mobile Parking App on Campus