I live in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is one of the most crowded cities on earth. And when it comes to parking it can seem to be a complete mess. You will know, if you’ve followed our long running Parking Masterclass series, just how crazy Israelis can be when it comes to parking.
I’ve tried every single parking application I’ve ever found; the last one I spoke about was Parking Polly which helps you find parking spaces.
But the one app I’ve used almost every day for more than three years is called Pango+. It’s the app I use to pay for parking all over Israel and it’s trivial to use. It pays for on street parking and for parking in many of the municipal parking lots in Tel Aviv.
I’ve used the app under the name Pango+ in Israel but they’re now going out to the world to sell both the app and the service for local authorities and anyone else who administers parking charges worldwide under the name Parking+.
Here’s how it works in Israel. In Tel Aviv and most Israelis towns, if a curb is marked with blue and white stripes, you can park on it during the day. Sometimes you can find a nearby pay and display machine but you don’t need to. You can open up the Parking+ app, check that it knows which city you’re in and hit the big blue button. That starts a count down timer for (usually) 3 hours. Now you walk away.
If a parking person (can we call them “meter maids” any more?) comes by, they punch your license plate into their handheld machine and the system tell them to move on, you’ve paid. Parking+ also sends you a text message at that moment that says (in Hebrew only here) “Dear member. A parking officer checked your car… but what does it matter? You parked with Pango+.”. That is a genius piece of psychology. The temptation not to activate the app for a few minutes is always there and if you do get back to your car without getting a ticket, how do you know if paying really worked! You can (at least in Israel) extended your parking time right from the app. I like being charged to the nearest second and not having to decide in advance how much time you’re going to need.
There’s a second way it works: when you enter certain parking garages a camera spots your number plate and your phone pings with a text message. You can either respond to the text message or take a photo of the barcode on the ticket. That’s all you need to do: when you want to leave you drive out, the barrier opens and you’re charged for the time you were in the car park without needing to go to a machine and pay.
In the background Parking+ is connected to all the municipalities in Israel, they take a fee for collecting the payments, but the majority of the cash passes to the local authorities.
For more information on their international expansion plans you can go to the website. In the spirit of full disclosure, I was inspired to write this post after meeting the founder of another Israeli startup, Blogsrelease.com which links bloggers with companies looking for PR. I saw there that Parking+ have offered free parking in return for blogging about their product (which I have happily used for years!) and wrote this post.