Star Performer: Volt Delta

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Parking meters.... No one likes having to stop what he is doing to run out and feed another quarter into the little slot to buy another half  an hour’s worth of time. And don’t even start talking about the tickets for not making it to the meter in time. 

However, thanks to VoltDelta OnDemand Solutions, traditional parking meters could go the way of the rotary phone. As part of a program initially rolled out with ParkMobile in Grand Rapids, Mich., and recently expanded to Albuquerque, N.M., and Atlanta, VoltDelta’s eParking solution allows callers to register through a toll-free number, entering their license plate numbers and credit card information into an interactive voice response system; they can also enroll through the company’s Web site. Then when they park at a meter, they can use their cell phones to dial the toll-free number and tell the system where they are parking. The system, which identifies callers by phone number, charges the parking fee to the credit card on file and can even send text-message alerts 15 minutes prior to meter expiration.

Terry Saeger, senior vice president and general manager of VoltDelta OnDemand, says the solution benefits both drivers and the municipalities and private parking facility management firms where the systems are deployed. For users, the benefits include convenience, comfort, safety, accuracy, and transaction security. For those manning the parking spaces, Saeger cites efficiency gains and the possibility of increased revenue.

To date call volume is rather low because of the small number of parking spaces involved in the three-city rollout, according to Jeff Wilkins, VoltDelta’s manager of the ParkMobile account. So far about 6,000 parking spaces are enrolled in the ParkMobile system, but that number is expected to jump to between 61,000 and 75,000 during the next few months when the program expands to several other U.S. cities, including Boston. Users of the system currently log about 16,000 minutes a month, equating to roughly 5,000 to 6,000 calls.

Wilkins also notes that VoltDelta and ParkMobile are currently developing an iPhone application and are even working with a few car manufacturers to embed the parking meter application into a car’s hardware and software.

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