For the first PPA Podcast, “The Petri Dish,” ADA Accessibility to cabs and transportation network companies (more commonly known as Uber and Lyft) is the main discussion topic. PPA Executive Director, Scott Petri, sits down with Taxi & Limousine Division directors, Bill Schmid and Christine Kirlin, to discuss the current hurdles in regulating taxicabs and transportation network companies within Philadelphia.
Guest Post by Independence Visitor Center Corporation
In many ways, the Philly PHLASH Downtown Loop™ remains one of the city’s best-kept secrets.
The service has been around since 1994, and hit its all-time high for ridership last year. Yet, there are still plenty of visitors and locals who are not aware of all that the PHLASH has to offer.
Even if your ride was among the 314,000 the PHLASH made in 2016, you probably aren’t taking advantage of everything the service has to offer. Here is our list of the top reasons to ride the PHLASH:
Top 5 Reasons to Ride the PHLASH
Excellent Customer Service: Did you know that the Independence Visitor Center Corporation began managing the PHLASH in 2012? That means we apply our same high standards of customer service and attention to visitor needs to the transit service.
“Park & Ride” Discount Program: For anyone driving into Philadelphia, PHLASH’s “Park & Ride” program offers a discounted rate at the following Philadelphia Parking Authority facilities for those who present a PHLASH pass:
So leave the stress of city traffic to the professionals—park your car and ride PHLASH for the day!
NOTE: To receive the $8.00 PHLASH parking discount, you must enter the above garages by 9 a.m. and exit by 7:00 p.m..
Clean + Comfortable Vehicles: In 2014, the PHLASH service transitioned from using trolleys to state-of-the-art New Flyer MiDi buses, operated by Krapf’s Coaches. The buses are large, seating up to 32 passengers comfortably, with large windows for great city views. They are air conditioned, ADA compliant, made in the USA, and use the latest in clean diesel technology. The PHLASH vehicles provide such a pleasant riding experience that the PHLASH was even named one of “10 Places to Mooch Free Air Conditioning in Philadelphia” by Philadelphia Magazine!
Exclusive Route: Like everything else about the PHLASH, its route is designed with the visitor in mind. The PHLASH travels from the Delaware River Waterfront to Fairmount Park, making 22 stops located near popular destinations and attractions, including: Penn’s Landing, the National Museum of Jewish American History, The Barnes Foundation, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum, the Perelman Building, Eastern State Penitentiary, The Franklin Institute, National Constitution Center, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Reading Terminal Market, the Shops at Liberty Place, the Please Touch Museum, the Philadelphia Zoo, One Liberty Observation Deck, and the brand-new Museum of the American Revolution.
The PHLASH is the ONLY public transit route that travels along Philadelphia’s iconic Benjamin Franklin Parkway, providing access to the city’s Museum District.
FREE Rides: At just $2 per ride or $5 for an all-day pass, the PHLASH is the most affordable way to travel around the city for everyone. But for many, the PHLASH is completely free! Among the groups who can always ride PHLASH for free: SEPTA Pass and Key card holders, seniors 65 and older; and children 4 and under.
If you haven’t yet experienced the benefits of riding the PHLASH, you’re in luck because daily service for the spring season is:
Weekend Service: March 26th through April 30th (Friday, Saturday and Sunday)
Simple: to help you avoid getting parking tickets.
Aside from being able to make parking payments through your iPhone or Android phone, you can also extend your parking session if your meeting is running longer than expected, or if you plan on grabbing dessert after dinner.
Since the main goal is to help you avoid getting parking tickets, we want you to let us know if you’ve gotten a ticket even though you paid through meterUP. But before we delve into getting your ticket cancelled, let’s go over the reasons why the ticket may have been issued in the first place.
Incorrect License Plate:
When it comes to tickets being issued despite making payment through meterUP, the most common reason is an incorrect license plate being entered into your meterUP profile. If your plate number is entered incorrectly into your profile, the vehicle will register as unpaid when our Parking Enforcement Officers (PEOs) check for payment on their handheld devices. So while you’re setting up your profile, double check to make sure your license plate number is entered correctly to avoid a ticket.
Selecting the Wrong Zone Number:
The second most common reason a ticket can be issued is for selecting the incorrect meterUP zone number when paying to park. After parking your vehicle, it’s important to take note of the meterUP zone number displayed on posted signage.
Note: Each street block along with each street side has its own dedicated meterUP zone number that should be referenced when making payment.
Selecting the Wrong Vehicle:
One of the most convenient features of meterUP is being able to have multiple vehicles on your profile. Here’s the thing though: After parking, make sure you’re selecting the correct vehicle in your meterUP profile. If you have the wrong vehicle selected, no payment will be shown for the vehicle you actually parked.
From time to time, our PEOs can make mistakes. When it comes to meterUP, here’s some things that may occur when our PEOs are on their patrols:
PEO incorrectly enters license plate number when confirming if payment is made.
PEO checks wrong meterUP zone number when confirming if payment is made.
PEO’s handheld device is experiencing a communication error with payment server.
Getting Your Ticket Cancelled:
Good news: The PPA provides a one-time courtesy cancellation for inadvertent user error when making mobile parking payments. If you’ve gotten a ticket because of one of the above scenarios, we can help get it cancelled as long as you were in an active parking session when the ticket was issued.
Here’s what to do:
Step 1: Take note of your parking ticket number.
Step 2: Provide a copy of your mobile parking receipt by:
Opening the meterUP App and tap “Activity.”
Tap “History” to find the parking session when you were issued the ticket.
After finding the applicable parking session, take a screenshot.
Note: Please make sure your receipt includes the following:
Mobile Parking Zone Number
Date & Time of Transaction
Start & End Time of Transaction
License Plate Number
(PHILADELPHIA) The Philadelphia Parking Authority’s hugely popular meterUP pay by cell parking app hit the 300,000 download milestone today.
The meterUP app is available city-wide and can be used at over 8,000 coin-operated meters and 975 kiosks throughout the city.
The continued success of meterUP comes as the PPA anticipates installing new kiosks in the summer. The new kiosks will require customers to enter their license plate numbers while making on-street parking payments.
Commenting on the milestone, PPA Executive Director Scott Petri said, “We are delighted this very popular and convenient mobile payment option is being so widely used by our parking customers. Our customers now have the convenience of paying for parking or adding time remotely anywhere in the city – instead of having to continuously carry cash or coins.”
Hailed as a major PPA technological innovation aimed at improving customer service and convenience for motorists parking in Philadelphia, there have been over 2.8 million meterUP transactions and now over 300,000 downloads sinceDecember 2017. The app has been widely embraced — receiving an IOS rating of 4.8 out of 23,000 reviews and a 4.6 Android rating out of 1,144 reviews at the App Store.
“Our goal with meterUP has always been to further improve customer service and the overall parking experience in Philadelphia for residents and visitors alike. We can expect this sentiment to continue as we install new pay-by-plate parking kiosks this summer,” Petri said.
The meterUP app allows drivers to pay for parking with a smartphone and remotely add more time to kiosks or coin-operated parking meters. Registration and use of meterUP is easy and saves customers time and money. Users can extend parking sessions remotely and stop time early to avoid wasting unused minutes. Customized parking expiration reminders and the ability to make prepayments are also features of meterUP.
Clearly marked signs and decals with zone numbers and directions on how to use meterUP are posted throughout the city. App users are encouraged to ensure their license plate numbers are correctly entered into their app profiles while referencing the correct meterUP zone numbers when making mobile payments.
The PPA has partnered with ParkMobile, LLC to power the meterUPapp. With this mobile payment option available city wide, both meterUPand ParkMobile are accepted for payment at all kiosks and coin-operated meters in Philadelphia – and conversely — meterUP can be used for payment in any locale in the country where ParkMobile is used and accepted
“The partnership between the Philadelphia Parking Association and ParkMobile has been a great success since we launched the meterUP app in 2017,” says Jon Ziglar, CEO of ParkMobile. “The high volume of transactions and the positive app store reviews show that we are providing a better parking experience in the city.
Customers are able to acquire meterUPby visitingmeterUP.org, downloading it through theiriOS andAndroiddevice, or by calling (877-727-5303).
Accredited with distinction by the International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI).
Three (3) garages rated as premier – Parkade on 8th, Galleria Garage, and Family Court Garage.
Delivered over $119 million to government entities.
Reorganized the Engineering department, now known as Construction Management and Capital Projects and hired new Director.
Changed the name of the IT Department to the Department of Technology and Information Solutions. Made PCI Compliance a key initiative. Began search for Chief Technology Officer.
Reorganized the Finance Department and hired a new CFO.
Reorganized HR Department. Began search for new Director. Conducted internal & external review of processes.
Added all contracts to website.
Processed 228 Right to Know requests.
Created expanded role of Board involvement and provided comprehensive monthly reports to the Board and public of activities.
Created Investment Committee with Board member representation. Analyzed all investment activities. Began quarterly meetings with reports to Board on Investment Committee. Created new policies and procedures.
Created new policies and procedures for HR, Finance, Risk Management and Audit departments.
Reconstituted the Audit department and created audit matrix. Reviewed Audit Findings and required departmental responses and implementation of corrective action.
Began practice of issuing Annual Reports for On-Street Operations even though not required. Continued bi-monthly meetings with City & School District finance.
Completed whistleblower policy.
Began practice of issuing Annual Reports for Airport Operations even though not required. Met frequently with DOA on finance and construction matters.
Assisted City with implementation of Amnesty Program.
Testified before the PA House Consumer Affairs Committee about need for additional funding for regulatory enforcement and hosted information hearing with PA House Transportation and Urban Affairs Committees on state legislative agenda.
Created compilation of proposed local and state legislation providing for safety improvements, revenue enhancement, regulatory authority and recommended changes.
Negotiated to successful conclusion of Collective Bargaining Agreement for four (4) unions with Teamsters Local 115, AFSCME Local 33 & 47 and District Council 21.
Post all contracts and POs on website and reported to Board on stats monthly.
Completed final response to Auditor General & held final meeting.
All Board Meeting minutes and exhibits available on PPA website.
Present list of employees trained each month and subject of training to Board each month.
Adopted formal travel reimbursement policy.
Began utilization of Project Management software.
Developed, operationalized and managed the City’s Amnesty Program – high profile, high risk program.
Developed transition and operational plan for BAA.
Appointed Equal Opportunity Officer.
Initiated a Best Practices Comparison Study consisting of parking professionals from around the country to develop operations analyst staff.
Redesigned the Authority’s Strategic Plan.
Developed protocols for HR and Internal Auditor reviews of Employee parking violations.
Reorganized Risk Management and expanded its role and responsibility.
Adopted a formal policy on policies and procedures.
Began risk assessment by department.
In collaboration with Off-Street Operations, revised the damage claim form specific to their operations to better capture the nature of the incident. The revised form allows Off-Street Operations to determine validity of incidents/damage thereby providing Risk Management the opportunity to process valid claims more efficiently.
Developed a Safety Statement for the Authority in an effort to begin development of a formal safety program.
Presented a Draft Motor Vehicle Usage Policy to Senior Management to formalize the Authorities processes and procedures regarding motor vehicle usage for safety and insurance.
Revision of the Risk Management Motor Vehicle Incident Summary form (formerly Chargeable Summary form) – the new form allows for a more efficient manner in which we investigate incidents. The form is shared with Human Resources and the Department Manager. Some changes to the form include:
Providing a description of the incident;
Determining whether the incident was preventable, non-preventable, or unable to determine from a loss prevention prospective; and
Concluding potential causes of the incident from a safety perspective.
Reinstated the Driver Safety Training program in collaboration with the Authority’s automobile liability carrier, insurance broker, and PPA Training Academy.
Provided suggested revisions and insurance language to the HR Travel policy.
Enhanced risk relationship with Information Technology and hosted an AIG Cyber Awareness Education Session.
Expansion of Risk Management’s role within the Authority by increased collaboration on various projects, to include developing and implementing an enterprise-wide risk management program.
Facilitation of three (3) areas currently in process – Off-Street Operations; Finance; and Information Technology.
Reactivated participation with state and national trade associations.
Enhanced communication with elected officials.
Participated in state hearings.
Public service announcement program to educate on various topics.
Continued community outreach meetings.
Completed outreach to neighborhood/business associations to address concerns/issues
Supported the meterUP city-wide roll-out.
Created inspection warning program.
Initiated daily recordings of customer interactions for analysis and reporting.
Created reporting for analytics of front-desk and BAA services.
Began monitoring of Parking Violations Branch customer service phone calls.
Streamlined process for ticket cancellations, saving time and resources.
Initiated weekly meetings for improved communication and efficiency.
Implemented a pilot program to expand Saturday hours – BAA.
Process flow analysis and reconfigured service windows at BAA to assist with crowd control/customer convenience/efficiency.
Reviewed vacant positions and hired as appropriate to ensure optimal staffing levels.
Sought opportunities for Community meetings and public ceremonies.
Initiated daily recordings of customer interactions for analysis and reporting – BAA.
Focus upon growth of Authority’s social media impressions and engagements.
Implemented a strategy to utilize video content more significantly.
Began internal training program for advanced skills.
Promoted 98 employees to new positions.
Adopted expanded college internship program.
Present all employee actions: hires, promotions, separations, retirements, etc., at each Board Meeting.
Refurbished two neighborhood lots – 7th & Christian & 4711 Baltimore Avenue.
Turned over $1.5 million to the City from neighborhood lots which was utilized by the City to improve fire company kitchens.
Completed design and approval for new parking lot under Ben Franklin Bridge adding 197 new monthly parking spots in Olde City.
Began to explore properties to replace Lot 4 and Lot 1.
Reviewed numerous items on Audit list.
Developed a Mission Statement.
Reviewed retiring employee’s benefits for accuracy.
Participated in Government accounting principles.
Consulted on Amnesty.
Monitored vacation & sick leave.
Moved reports closer to annual.
Expanded and formalized maintenance program for Facilities and included normalized maintenance costs into budget.
Implemented new budget process.
PPA budget on website.
Re-organized the department.
Changed finance presentation at Board Meetings to year-to-date.
Garage D restoration work was completed in December 2018. This project came in under budget by $906,807.61.
In FY 2018, the Authority performed 3,981 courtesy services including courtesy tows, jump starts, car location services, and other similar work for airport customers at no charge. These services have a retail value of $307,000.
The Authority returned 45.5% of the net revenue to the DOA in FY18.
The net amount payable to the DOA for FY18 $32,270,521.
Delivered $50,657,124 to the City and School District, more than ever before even with pension & fringe benefit cost increases.
Parking taxes paid to the City for FY18 totaled $15.87 million.
Relaunch of Pay-by-Phone through Park Mobile.
Issued 1,553,552 parking tickets.
Performed 40,708 tows including 13,956 live stops.
Department of Technology and Information Solutions/Technology
Began re-organization of department.
Moved PCI function back into IT.
Created task force on PCI Compliance.
Established matrix on PCI implementation.
Completed rush assessment of department.
Migrated from Groupwise to Outlook.
Completed a Virtual Infrastructure refresh (replaced outdated servers).
Developed protocols for decision making and reporting to the Executive Director and Board.
At this time of the year many families are busy preparing for Proms and Graduations. A key part of your preparations may be making transportation arrangements. In that regard, the Philadelphia Parking Authority (Authority) wants to help safeguard your loved ones from illegal and unsafe limousine operators.
Limousine carriers operating between points within Philadelphia are regulated by the Authority’s Taxicab and Limousine Division (“TLD”). Trips between points in the City and points within the Commonwealth may also be regulated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Do not trust your loved ones and their once in a lifetime moments to unregulated, under insured and unsafe carriers. Properly licensed carriers use first-class vehicles that have undergone rigorous inspections. These licensed companies use only certified drivers who have undergone a detailed vetting process.
Interested parents can check a carrier’s status by contacting the TLD’s Enforcement Department TLDEnforcement@Philapark.org or by calling 215-683-9440.
During a public hearing last week before the state Independent Regulatory Review Commission, Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) officials testified about the effectiveness of wheelchair accessible vehicle (“WAV”) services in Philadelphia, contending current regulations do not provide “sufficient oversight.”
PPA Executive Director Scott Petri said, “ As the governing entity tasked with regulating taxicab, limousine and transportation network services in Philadelphia, it is our contention that the current regulatory framework does not provide for sufficient oversight of taxicab and transportation network company (TNC) WAV service and requirements.”
PPA Taxicab and Limousine Division Director Christine Kirlin said, “We have not been provided the funding or necessary tools to adequately assure the public that responsible level of regulatory review exists in Philadelphia, including WAV service.”
With 7 inspectors employed to patrol 2,575 miles of streets, the PPA estimates approximately 136,000 taxicab and TNC trips are provided daily in Philadelphia.
“With regulatory appropriation reduced by half from $8.5 million to $4.2 million, our staff has been reduced by 45%. This steep reduction has rendered us unable to adequately perform all of our required statutory duties,” Kirlin explained further.
“Given the law prohibits the PPA from using its funds arbitrary, the reduction in adequate appropriations for our Taxicab and Limousine Division has created numerous obstacles for our enforcement staff,” Petri said.
The PPA is the sole regulator of all taxicab, limousine and TNCs in Philadelphia. Act 164 of 2016 legally changed the landscape of the for-hire industry in Pennsylvania when it established and provided for the regulation of TNC services while also amending regulatory requirements to taxicab and limousine services in Philadelphia.
“As we move forward, the PPA remains committed to doing all we can to safeguard the riding public with very limited resources. We look forward to continued dialogue on the issue of regulation and the need for sufficient resources that will allow us to adequately carry out our mission,” said Petri.
The PPA’s full testimony to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission can be found here.