The one thing I hate about driving a car is when i have to spend hours trying to find a parking spot. And finally, when I get one, it is a paid spot with a parking meter that gobbles up my quarters, and as luck would have it, I dig into my purse to find that I’m out of quarters!! Oh, how I’d love if these meters would start accepting credit cards!! That’s a thought that crosses many minds several times a day, and one such mind belonged to Fred Mitschele, who figured out how to make money out of this simple thought.
In cities like New York and San Francisco, where parking is really hard to find, you see patrol cars taking rounds to find a car parked against an expired meter so they can immediately make money by issuing you a fine or a ticket. But in smaller cities, lots of such fines go unpaid, denting the pockets of such governments. On the other hand, customers are looking for an alternative form of payment for such meters, so they don’t have to finish their dinner in a hurry before the 1-hour parking window expires.
Photo Violation Technologies, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, has found the perfect solution. The newly re-invented parking meter allows you to swipe a credit card rather than hunt for coins, and what’s great is that you can leave your cell phone number with it, and it’ll call you when your time is up, and also provide you with an option of putting additional time on the meter, without returning to your car!! And for those who take the law lightly, the PVM will take a photo of your car’s license plate if you fail to pay your dues! Amazing and Perfect!! Just the way you need it. Now only if they figured out a way to park your cars too!!
Mitschele has partnered with IBM to finanace a $1 million trial, installing 300 PVM’s in Niagara Falls, SFo and Vancouver. When the trial ends in July 2008, Mitschele hopes to make upto $200 million in 5 years. Not bad at all!!