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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
New meters mean business
Parking terminals to offer shopping alternatives
John Maher/Herald
The new parking meters will offer residents coupons when they go to pay for their parking.

When it comes to parking in downtown Rockville Centre, the changes just keep on coming.

At the Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 7, the Village announced its collaboration with MasterCard and Parkeon, Inc., which will bring brand new smart parking terminals to the streets of Rockville Centre. The terminals are the first of their kind to be implemented anywhere in the world, and offer a couponing platform intended to enable shoppers to receive offers from locally relevant retailers while they are paying for their parking spaces.

According to a press release issued by MasterCard on Oct. 3, the system, unlike other loyalty programs, will not require complex sign-up processes or smartphone app installation. The meters are intended to deliver rewards to shoppers before they even begin shopping; a customer paying for parking may, for example, find a 20 percent coupon to a local restaurant attached. For businesses, the meters will provide what is effectively a digital shopping channel that will allow them to showcase offers while specifically targeting shoppers in the village.

“Parking meters are evolving from a cash-intensive, low-value transaction industry, to one that is able to deliver huge commercial benefit to businesses and reward consumers,” said Stéphane Roques, the head of parking business at Parkeon. “A partnership of this size and scale represents the latest in a series of innovations in on-street parking, which not only ensure we are meeting the growing expectations of consumers, but also have a positive impact on businesses in the 3,000 cities that we currently operate in around the globe.”

The program will launch in Rockville Centre this year on a small scale, with village officials planning the installation of 10 parking terminals on Park Ave. during the project’s initial stage. The meters, which were initially priced at $10,000, were whittled down to $6,600 each, and the village will also earn a portion of the revenue from meter use should the project prove lucrative.

“I’m proud of the role we have played in driving a number of firsts within our Village,” said Mayor Francis X. Murray. “A parking meter on its own might not sound exciting. But, when combined with the potential to drive additional business to your store, it becomes a little more interesting.

“These new kiosks provide more than just the ability to pay for parking with a credit or debit card,” he added. “They will also offer local shoppers the opportunity to select from a number of real-time offers that will drive additional customers to your and other selected establishments.”

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