by, Chris Gilligan, Xerox PR
Xerox has been working to take the pain out of parking in Indianapolis for about 18 months. Recently, I went to Indy and tried out this new system for myself. Let’s just say it worked a little too well.
Xerox installed sensors in about half the parking spaces in Indy. An app directs you to open spaces. I got to town very early and found a spot, so I didn’t need to use this guidance feature. However, while waiting to meet a camera crew we verified open spaces on the app at our destination.
I wanted to experience this new system for myself, so I choose to park on the street not in a garage. All of the spaces in downtown Indy accept credit cards, as well as coins. Otherwise, I would have needed 48 quarters to park all day!
To help clear up some of the sidewalk clutter and allow people to add time from just about anywhere, we installed pay boxes. They allow you to park and feed the meter without having to go back to your space – just find the closest pay box and key in your space.
If you’ve never used a pay box, you need to spend a few extra minutes understanding the directions. But if you read the directions and verify what you paid for, it all works out. When I verified my payment, I realized I only paid the minimum, not the maximum, so I was only charged a quarter for 15 minutes. I put my card back in, maxed out the time this time, verified I got two hours total and I was good to go. That whole process, including reading the directions, took about three minutes. Not bad for a first timer.
Next I thought I’d try the pay by phone option to add time. I created an account, put in my space number and added time. Even needing to establish an account, I did all that in less than five minutes. Not bad for a first timer. I also got a text reminding me my time was about to expire. I added time by phone a second time by calling.
A few hours later I got another text reminding me that my time was about to expire. I wanted to put the pay boxes to the test this time. I was probably 10 blocks from my car. I saw a pay box. I knew my space number. Put in my credit card and remembered to max out the time. I verified I got the full two hours. Good to go.
It turned out to be a good day. I figured out a new parking meter system that Xerox installed and I promote on a regular basis. I worked through the nuances of learning a new system and did pretty well with not too much difficulty. Plus, I reconnected with some co-workers and met some great new folks. We had a lot of fun talking and catching up. But I spent too much time laughing and talking. I did not feed the meter one last time. The final piece of the parking program also worked – I got a ticket.
Chris Gilligan works in corporate communications for Xerox. He’s great at talking about all the cool stuff Xerox does in parking, surprisingly good at parallel parking, but obviously not very good with a watch.