By Pat Loeb, Greg Argos and David Spunt
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Some 40,000 Philadelphia drivers who’ve been paying for street parking by phone are once again prisoners of kiosks and meters.
The Parking Authority is ending its “Meter Up” mobile payment program, for at least several months starting 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.
Philadelphia Parking Authority Deputy Director Corrinne O’Connor blames the provider, Pango’s, financial problems.
“They have closed their Philadelphia offices. Basically, they were having some difficulty in sustaining the program.”
O’Connor says their one cent per transaction fee did not cover costs such as credit card fees, data fees and publicizing the program.
She says Pango had counted on attracting advertisers to the app, but never succeeded.
“PPA was going to receive 20 percent of that advertising revenue that would have filtered to the city but that never happened throughout the contract.”
Harrisburg ended its contract with Pango two months ago because of technical problems. O’Connor says Philadelphia didn’t have those problems, customers liked the app and the Authority will seek a new provider, but expects it will take till the end of summer.
Pango sent an email statement, saying terminating the agreement was a joint decision:
“Since the last quarter of 2016, when Pango was purchased and new ownership inherited the PPA Agreement, Pango has tried to work with PPA to find solutions that were consistent with the Agreement and that would give Pango the opportunity to make additional income beyond the $.01 convenience fee, to help limit losses. After months of meetings without progress on those solutions, and since PPA demanded to cut off value-added services that were already in place, both parties have now agreed that this agreement cannot continue. The Pango team believes that we have provided the best possible mobile payment solution to the citizens of Philadelphia under the circumstances, and we thank those citizens for the opportunity to serve them.”