Buffalo resident Schacana Geter came downtown to the Theater District to catch a movie at the AMC theatre with her mom. She's using the Buffalo Roam app to pay for parking.
"This is my first time using it, so I'm literally navigating it as you're looking at me. It's pretty easy, the format is straight forward. Right now I'm seeing that I have to preload $10 and then put in my card information," said Schacana Geter.
Geter says it beats having to pay a parking meter.
"It looks pretty easy if you park a lot, $10 is not that bad, seeing how I just paid $2 to park here just now," said Geter.
Buffalo officials are hoping others will follow Geter's lead. This week the city rolled out a new parking policy that increases the basic daily rate to $2 an hour, but then they rolled back the plan to just apply during events. It also adds parking zones where the only way to pay to park is through the Buffalo Roam parking app.
"The city and Passport have done a great job working together to put out ample amount of signage so the communication and visibility is extremely high, and users are aware of exactly what the zone number is that they're parking in, and allows them to pay and be on their way even faster," said Conor Kelly of Passport Labs, Inc., the company that developed Buffalo Roam.
Kelly says the app, which debuted in May 2017, was intended to make it more convenient for people to park in the city — but he also acknowledges not everyone has a smartphone to download the app.
"Maybe it’s generational resistance or difficulties when it comes to the adoption of a mobile app versus the traditional meter. That, we see changing over time, we see a really strong trend in the direction of more app usage and less meter usage," said Kelly.
Parking Commissioner Kevin Helfer says about 90 percent of people have a smartphone and about 35 percent of parking revenue comes from the Buffalo Roam app. He says the information collected from the app will also help them to evaluate the city's new parking plan in April.