Since the City of Buffalo’s “Buffalo ROAM” parking app launched this past May, the effort has proved to exceed all expectations. According to Parking Commissioner Kevin Helfer, “20% of parking revenues are now coming from the app. We’ve set a goal for 50% by the end of the second year – it’s been seven months as of this point. We’re very, very happy. There have been few bugs, and hardly any complaints.”
As far as City of Buffalo initiatives go, Buffalo ROAM has proved to be forward thinking beyond measure. The app saves time, and resources. And saved resources saves money. Plus, there are fewer hassles – what’s not to love? “People love it,” noted Helfer. “If someone emails or calls us and tells us that they paid for parking, and somehow got issued an unjustified ticket, we just look it up electronically, and we can see if a ticket was purchased. It’s seamless. It also saves on court appearances – there’s no hearing, because we can see it on our end. Before Buffalo ROAM, if someone’s receipt blew away, there was no way that they could prove that they paid.”
So far, 11,600 people have downloaded the Buffalo ROAM app, and added a wallet, which allows them to pay for their parking.
One of the best features of Buffalo ROAM is its ability to notify drivers that their meter is about to expire (via smart phone message). If a driver needs more time, he or she can extend their parking time via the app. Plus, Common Council recently approved a “Courtesy Hour”, which means that 15 minutes before the two-hour maximum time allotment, a driver has the ability to pay for an additional hour, making the new parking maximum three hours!
When asked what else Helfer had up his sleeve, he alluded to an experimental phase that he hopes to drive into the new year. He anticipates that his department will try out a “Pay By Cell Only” district in the city, although he has not divulged what that trial district might be. He only stated that the district would be one where there are currently no meters. “Just think of it,” Helfer mentioned. “Think of how much we would save on equipment, if people simply paid by phone, and there were no meters or any other equipment. It would also alleviate the problem of “all day parkers” in places like, say, The Medical Campus, as an example.”
Parking has come a long way in Buffalo. Soon Helfer believes that people will be able to pay their parking tickets through the Buffalo ROAM app, which would be another added convenience. “We’re also looking at ways that merchants can pay for their customers’ parking,” he added. “We hope to unveil that in the spring of 2018.”
Drivers who have downloaded this handy-dandy app have been raving about the convenience. The chances of getting a parking ticket these days, for the savvy Buffalo ROAM users, is virtually nil. It’s only a matter of time, before this parking technology becomes “the norm”, and those vile orange parking tickets become a thing of the past.