Student Center Parking Lot

The Student Center parking lot, Tuesday, May 3, 2016.

Kent State students and visitors have a new mobile way to pay for parking on the go with the use of the Passport Parking app. 

Passport Parking is a free application that allows the driver to pay for their parking spot from their phone, instead of paying directly at a meter or kiosk. 

“You can log in and buy time from your phone, you don't need to touch the meter or the kiosk to do that,” Parking Services manager Larry Emling said. “It also allows you to buy time from the convenience of your car or a classroom.” 

Passport Parking sends the driver text notifications about 10 to 15 minutes prior to their time expiring. This provides the individual with the option to purchase additional time, if they haven’t reached the maximum time limit in the parking zone, or alerts them to head back to their vehicle.  

“Our goal is to make it easier for the parker to park legally and in compliance without getting tickets and not having to worry about their time necessarily throughout the period that they're parked there,” Emling said.

Drivers will also have access to their parking history through Passport Parking, which Emling said allows the driver to keep track of their parking times and appeal tickets if necessary. 

“So if I got a ticket, or I want to raise a question about something, now I have the actual information in front of me on my phone to say, ‘Here's the transaction number and here’s the time I bought it’,” he said. “We can see that as well, but it kind of verifies your information.” 

Passport Parking was selected out of convenience and cost for the driver, Emling said. 

“One of the reasons we selected Passport is they have the lowest convenience fee to the parker,” Emling said. “The fee does get passed onto the parker ... to buy time in an area and that fee is 30 cents for that time period.”

The payment rate of $1.25 per hour will remain the same — not including the payment fee —  however, the amount the driver pays will depend on the amount of time parked and the maximum time limit in the parking zone

Currently, academic lots have a maximum time of two hours, while parking outside of the Recreation Center has a limit of four hours. The C Campus Center and Ice Arena parking lots have all day parking once the driver reaches a total of $5. 

“The nice thing is we can change that [maximum] time pretty quickly,” Emling said. “We've heard arguments both ways from students. Some like it because it forces turnover … other ones like to park longer and they're willing to pay for it. So we've kept it at two hours now, but that might be something we explore in the future.” 

Overnight parking will be available for on campus students and guests in certain faculty lots from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. once a payment of $3 is made through the app, Emling said. This applies to the lots outside of the Center for the Performing Arts, the Ice Arena, Bowman Hall and Verder Hall.

Passport Parking isn’t eligible for use at the yellow, 1-hour parking meters, as those are intended for quick, turnover parking, Emling said. It will not be used at the visitor parking lot outside of the Kiva, which will keep its $6 fee. 

The app will be used to replace some parking meters entirely, making Passport Parking the only payment method in some areas. However, Emling said about 100 parking meters and several kiosks will remain on campus. Passport Parking will be used alongside all remaining meters on campus. 

Though the app is active and available for use on campus currently, each parking area will have a sign posted with information about payment and maximum time limits by the start of the fall semester.   

“We're just kind of making a full changeover right now during the summer figuring that it's going to be different when people return anyhow,” Emling said. “This is kind of the ideal time to make these changes.”

More information about Passport Parking can be found on the Parking Services website, and Emling said he encourages drivers to call the office at 330-672-4432 with issues or questions about the software.

Contact Zaria Johnson at zjohns19@kent.edu.

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