Truckee tries to make parking smarter |

Truckee tries to make parking smarter

Sierra Countis
Ryan Salm / Sierra Sun / Dieter Jordan of Pennsylvania and Jean Platt of Florida put coins in a parking meter in downtown Truckee on Wednesday.

Downtown Truckee’s parking meters are getting smarter.

The town will be the second in California to integrate Parcxmart Technologies’ Smart Card system to its existing parking meters. The system should be running by July 4.

The Smart Card technology was chosen by the town through the partnership with the present parking meters that are placed along more than 500 parking spaces downtown, said John Regan, Parcxmart Technologies president and CEO. The Smart Card will work similarly to a debit card, in that people can add money to the card and use it to pay for parking and merchant purchases instead of coins or credit cards.

Kelly Beede, parking services coordinator for the town, was not available for comment on Wednesday.

The Smart Card payment system is currently being used in San Jose. Regan said people who use Smart Cards are able to use them wherever the technology is in place.

“What’s really cool about it is that people may be able to] pick up a card in Truckee and use it in Berkeley,” Regan said about Parcxmart’s plans for launching the system in other cities in California.

Regan said the system software will be downloaded into the downtown parking meters and a computer chip will be installed that will read the Smart Cards when scanned. People who choose to use the card system will receive a 15 percent discount on downtown parking meter fees. Regan said the parking meters will be able to calculate the correct discount for parking and keep track of the card’s balance.

How to get one

People can get Smart Cards by going to participating merchants who have the Parcxmart’s decal on their front windows. He said approximately 15 downtown businesses are interested in being a part of the new system. Businesses will issue and load the cards with funds by accepting cash, credit, or debit cards with a minimum purchase starting at $10 up to a $100 limit, said Regan.

The card also brings rewards for local merchants who choose to be included in the new technology because it works just like a debit card to make a purchase.

“People can also go into a merchant’s place and buy your omelettes there,” Regan said, referring to the restaurant Squeeze In, one of the business’ that will participate.

The Smart Card features Parcxmart Instant Cool Rewards that gives “instant gratification” for card users who frequent downtown merchants on a regular basis, said Regan. He said people can win free prizes when they use their cards 10 times at the same business. Regan said the actual prizes people may receive are up to individual merchants, ranging from free coffee to merchandise discounts.

“It’s a very open system,” Regan said. “It’s completely targeted to local merchants because they actually earn commission.”

Regan said the smart cards are cost-efficient with no transaction fees for downtown businesses and safe for consumers because they will never experience identity theft when choosing to pay with the card.

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