Bethlehem, PA Achieves Record Mobile Payment Adoption Results

 BethlehemBethlehem, Pennsylvania, founded on Christmas Eve 1746 and well known as “The Christmas City,” has rapidly evolved its parking technology and mobile payment adoption since 2013. In cooperation with MobileNOW!, the citizens and visitors have enjoyed  an integrated marketing and communication campaign, resulting in MobileNOW! adoption more than doubling in 2015.

The Challenge

The city of Bethlehem has 75,000+ residents, a large number of seasonal visitors and serves the larger Lehigh Valley commuter population. With a diverse group of transient parkers, the Bethlehem Parking Authority recognized a need to enhance the convenience of parking overall while controlling costs and revenue.

The Solutions

After a successful 6-month pilot program in April 2013, the Bethlehem Parking Authority engaged MobileNOW!, the world’s first mobile payment innovator for parking, to provide real-time mobile payment options on all 2,255 on-street spaces.

Through partnering with MobileNOW!, the city eliminated upfront capital expenditures and zero cost implementation and integrations.

MobileNOW! provides Bethlehem parkers:

  • Free MobileNOW! app: Parkers may pay for parking with a secure, single mobile wallet and may start and extend parking sessions remotely within clicks.
  • Interactive voice response (IVR) system: Parkers without smart phones may dial a local phone number and follow voice prompts to pay for and manage their parking sessions remotely.

Integrating with the Community
In late 2014 and early 2015, the Bethlehem Parking Authority, in conjunction with MobileNOW!, launched a proactive campaign to promote MobileNOW! mobile payment adoption.

 The campaign included a variety of joint promotions, contests and drawings with Bethlehem’s Downtown Business Association and Chamber of Commerce. Through flyers, mass emails and text messages, the city was able to measure engagement and increase awareness.

To promote trying the MobileNOW! app, the Parking Authority committed to more than $10,000 in free or reduced parking sessions, and MobileNOW! waived convenience fees for more than 25,000 parking sessions. 

In addition to multiple campaigns, MobileNOW! is deeply rooted in the community’s initiatives and was selected to headline the annual Bethlehem Economic Outlook seminar in April 2015, where state and local government representatives from nearby communities and local merchants learned how consumer trends and mobile payments can drive economic growth in Bethlehem and throughout the Lehigh Valley. MobileNOW! is the exclusive provider for all seven cities in the Lehigh Valley. 

The Results
Since 2014, MobileNOW! has increased its percentage of total revenues in Bethlehem by 55%.

“We were confident that offering free parking to promote trying the MobileNOW! app would pay off,” said Kevin Livingston, Executive Director of the Bethlehem Parking Authority. “And we were spot on—we received more than 100% return on our investment in February 2015 alone, when winter conditions affect parking. Even better, our revenue more than doubled in February over February 2014.”

MobileNOW! and the Bethlehem Parking Authority continue to innovate and have larger goals and targets for 2015-2016.