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Friday, Nov 21, 2014

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Transportation and parking changes on the horizon

Meter users can soon pay with smart phones


Soon all meters on the Athens Campus can be paid using an app on a smart phone, as Ohio University has entered into a contract with ParkMobile, a global provider for mobile payments and parking guidance. Starting this summer, drivers can receive a text message when their time is about to expire so additional time can be added from their phone.

The change is one of several being implemented over the summer months that are designed to make traveling throughout the campus community easier.

"The new services come from recommendations from two university committees that were comprised of faculty, staff, and students and are funded by the Transportation Auxiliary,” said OHIO Director of Transportation & Parking Services Martin Paulins. “The initiatives will improve visitor parking options, enhance safety, and promote use of public transit.”

The University also has contracted with DoubleMap to provide GPS tracking on all CATS shuttles, meaning a rider can follow the location of the bus using an app on their phone. CATS service hours of operation also will be extended from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Another new service introduced this fall is provided by TapRide, which will replace the service currently offered by the Ohio University’s Police Department’s Safe T Patrol. TapRide is a late night on-demand transportation service operated by Transportation & Parking from about 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.

The new TapRide service will allow passengers to use an app on their smart phones to schedule a ride. The request will go to an iPad in a CATS shuttle, the driver will acknowledge the request and a confirmation with an expected wait time will be sent back to the passenger. The user can use the GPS tracking option to learn when the CATS vehicle is outside their door.

The outside surface parking lot of Baker University Center also will become paid parking instead of faculty and staff parking. This area will be tied into ParkMobile, and will utilize solar powered pay stations that also accept cash and credit cards.