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Parking App Goes Bust, Leaving Pennsylvania Cities in Lurch

The ongoing novel coronavirus weakened and ultimately forced the closure of the parking payment app company MobileNOW! The closure means at least three Pennsylvania cities are without the services.

by Andrew Wagaman and Andrew Scott, The Morning Call / May 19, 2020
The Allentown Parking Authority is in the process of installing new parking kiosks around the PPL Center Arena so that they can roll out new variable parking rates for arena event nights. They will begin charging event rates, equal to those at city garages, at all parking meters that surround the Allentown event space. Seen here is a trial kiosk is seen on Allen and Seventh Streets. \r\n\r\n02/12/19 /// Amy Shortell/The Morning Call TNS

(TNS) — The smartphone app motorists use to pay parking meters in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton has permanently expired.

MobileNOW! notified customers Monday that it had ceased operations and dissolved the company because of economic hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

While the mobile app is no longer accessible, many customers still have credit balances. In a statement on its website, the Maryland-based company said it will sort out how much it owes various creditors, including customers, over the coming weeks.

“Once completed, we will pay such creditors in accordance with applicable law with any funds remaining and available for distribution, most notably our customers that have a credit balance associated to their wallet,” the MobileNOW! statement reads.

The company says it will then put a notice on its website announcing the proportion of credit balances it will be able to repay. It expects customers that have a valid credit card associated with their online account will be automatically recredited.

MobileNOW! customers can continue to access online account historical data via the website.

“We again apologize for any inconvenience caused and will as mentioned keep you informed of our winding-up process through our website,” the company statement concludes.

Bethlehem started using the service in 2012. Allentown rolled it out in 2014. And according to a 2019 parking study, Easton has more than 600 digital parking meters along downtown streets and surface lots that accept MobileNOW! payment.

The Bethlehem Parking Authority posted on its website that it’s working on another method of mobile payment processing for its customers, and to check back for updates.

Reached Monday night, Allentown Parking Authority Executive Director John Morgan said MobileNOW! provided no warning that it was going to shut down. However, Allentown was already in the process of working with another unnamed provider to set up a new payment processing app, and Morgan hopes to have the app in place as soon as early June.

Allentown last week resumed enforcement of parking meter violations after a nearly eight-week suspension. Bethlehem also resumed enforcement earlier this month.

As of Tuesday morning, MobileNOW! LLC had not yet filed for bankruptcy.

©2020 The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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