This week, parkers will see around 90 new meters on Houston streets, with another 166 being installed in March. The meters—T2 Systems’ Digital Luke II multi-space pay stations—employ cutting-edge technology that will make parking easier as well as enhance operation for the City.
Houston’s purchase of the Luke II pay stations, a significant contract for T2, was approved by the City Council on Oct. 15 after the city used several of the meters in trial form during 2015. Houston manages 9,200 parking spaces with the help of its multi-space pay stations.
The Luke II meter provides a better experience because it lets parkers associate their payment with their license plate number. With “pay-by-plate,” a parker no longer has to walk back to their car to put a receipt on the dashboard. This ability was a driving factor in Houston’s decision to go with T2.
“This is really going to improve the customer experience,” said Assistant Director of ParkHouston Maria Irshad. “Customers will now just be able to get on their way after paying for parking.”
In the rollout, teams of ambassadors will walk the areas where new meters are in place to teach parkers how to pay-by-plate. Additionally, parkers who use a mobile app to pay will also now be able to extend their parking session via text message. This is another service that “will take the aggravation out of parking,” Irshad said.
The speed of the Luke II pay stations is also a key enhancement for the City. During trials the meters performed 50 percent faster than the older model. The improved modem technology in the pay stations will also boost monitoring and maintenance.
The new meters also feature a paper jam sensor, a must in Houston’s humid climate and an element the City worked with T2 to develop. Previously, after a hard rain, parking staff had to visit many of the meters to check for and clear paper jams caused by humidity. “With the new sensor, we’ll see a decrease in customer complaints and an increase in operational efficiency,” said Irshad.
“We were proud to partner with Houston, continuing our 10-year relationship with them to make parking easier for citizens and management easier for the City,” said Chris Chettle, T2 Executive Vice President of Product & Manufacturing. “We are always looking for ways to augment our customers’ parking operations and Houston provided us a great opportunity.”
“Our meters were working for us, they were just getting old, as any technology does,” Irshad said. “When we purchased them in 2005, we were still using flip phones. That’s how quickly technology changes. We needed to upgrade. At the end of the day, parking meters are a piece of technology and need to be refreshed as such.”
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