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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Park Genius provides UA students with coin-free parking meter options

Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson /The Daily Wildcat Thomas Maguire, founder of Park Genius, stands next to a parking meter on University Blvd. on Aug. 29th. Maguire created the app in an entrepreneurial class through the Eller College of Business.

UA alumni have created an app to help make paying for metered parking easier.

Thomas Maguire, Ross Shanken and Austin Weiss recently launched Park Genius, a parking application that allows people to pay for a parking meter on their phone rather than having to use coins. The trio were students in the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program when they conceptualized the app.

“We came up with the idea of the parking app because we were constantly having to think of the time that was left on our meter,” said Macguire, co-founder and chief financial officer of Park Genius. “If we were in a restaurant on University [Boulevard], we’d always have to get up and put more coins in … it was just frustrating, inconvenient and seemed unnecessary.”

In order to use the app, the user enters the number of their parking space, chooses the amount of time they need and presses “park” on their smartphone. Park Genius is a free application available for download on any web-enabled Android, or iOS
smartphone device, or as a web app.

Parking lots where Park Genius can be used are located: outside the Student Recreation Center on Seventh Street, outside McClelland Hall on Helen Street, on University Boulevard between Park Avenue and Euclid Avenue, on Alameda Street between Main Avenue and Sixth Avenue and on Scott Avenue between Pennington Street and Broadway Boulevard.

Some UA students said they’ve also experienced frustration with parking meters.

“I’ve spent over $200 on nonsense tickets at the meters because class got out late or I needed to stay and talk to a teacher,” said Keegan Baker, a political science junior.

For a 35 cent convenience fee, Park Genius will notify the user when the meter is running low and give the option to add more time.

“I wish there were more all around campus,” said Allison Kettell, a psychology sophomore. “If these existed last year, my roommate would probably be $300 richer.”

Last year, Kettell and her roommate took turns moving the car they shared in and out of the 20-minute parking zones due to construction that caused a lack of parking in the garages around campus. Kettell said she was happy to hear about the new meter payment option.

“They seem easy and stress-free,” Kettell said. “No running back and forth to the car in case you need more time.”

After what Maguire described as a “long and intensive process with the approval of the City of Tucson,” a formal agreement has recently been met. The founders of the app signed a three-month pilot with the city on Aug. 5.

If the pilot is successful, the founders will expand Park Genius throughout Tucson. Maguire said they’re also in contact with several cities across the United States who are interested in the app.

The main benefit of the app, Maguire added, is its convenience.

“You don’t need to carry around coins, you don’t have to run back to the meter, you don’t have to worry about getting a parking ticket,” Maguire said. “We’ll send you a reminder. You can even do it as you’re walking away.”

-Follow Olivia Mountz @livmountz

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