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Parking meters go digital in Hazleton

There's something new in downtown Hazleton, and it's saving time and money for city residents.

HAZLETON, Pa. — New touch screen parking kiosks are replacing nearly 80 parking meters on Broad Street in downtown Hazleton.

"Our old meters were getting obsolete. The parts were getting expensive. There was no more just repairing some of them; you had to replace the whole unit. Between if we had to replace the whole case, the mechanism, you're talking hundreds and hundreds of dollars," said Ralph Sharp, Hazleton public transit director.

Hazleton Public Transit invested over $60,000 to install eight new parking kiosks, saying they are making a much-needed upgrade that will pay off in the long run.

Since the new parking meters were recently installed, the investment is already making a difference.

"We thought we would incur the costs upfront with these kiosks, which are solar powered, and there's no electricity costs in operating these also," Sharp added.

When picking out the kiosks, Sharp wanted to ensure they were eco-friendly and accessible to everyone in Hazleton.

"The display is in English, but when you get into the system when you park, you get to pick English or Spanish for the instructions," he explained.

But not everyone is excited about this kind of technological upgrade.

"We did have some concerns from some of the elderly people in our community. They are worried about how they are going to operate it because we recently switched to a Park Mobile app also in Hazleton," said Sharp.

Sharp says the Hazleton Public Transit will help new users become acclimated to the new parking kiosks through video tutorials and staff assistance. 

"It's very easy, it's three simple steps, and anyone can do it," he added.

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