How the Lexington & Fayette County Parking Authority Reduced Costs and Increased Service via Mobile


How the Lexington & Fayette County Parking Authority Reduced Costs and Increased Service via Mobile

The Lexington & Fayette County Parking Authority (LFCPA) is an agency, instrumentality, and constituted authority of the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government. Its mission is to provide, maintain, and operate adequate, high-quality, customer-focused public parking and encourage economic growth for the benefit of the residents, businesses, and visitors of Lexington-Fayette County.  

Have you ever wondered what the true cost is when it comes to accepting cash as a payment method?

LEXPARK Overview

In LEXPARK’s early days of 2008, they found themselves in need of updating their parking meters from traditional single space wind-up meters to smart meters. They were also interested in reducing the amount of “cash” transactions being processed.  

The LEXPARK on-street parking operation consists of three key areas with the following average occupancy rates:

1 – Downtown core business area
(as of Fall 2022): 60 percent

2 – University of Kentucky (UK)
Main Campus: 38 percent

3 – Chevy Chase-neighborhood shopping and
dining area: 20 percent

LEXPARK’s On-Street operations consist of the following breakdown of meters and signage:

• On-street: 1,200 paid spaces with 679 spaces using Luke/COSMO

• Total pay stations: 96 

• Luke II (accept cash/coin/credit card): 39 

• COSMO (accept coin/credit card): 57 

• Initially, only 39 signs located at 39 Luke II paystations (at the time, only one mobile payment provider)

• 72 signs added to operation when a second mobile payment provider was introduced
(August 2021)

In 2011, LEXPARK partnered with PayByPhone to introduce its first mobile payment app in its efforts to help reduce the amount of cash transactions and provide better customer service. 

LEXPARK’s mobile payment providers include: 

• Two mobile payment providers

• T2 Mobile Pay (powered by TEZ/TEXT2PARK) – SMS text-based, implemented in 2021

• PayByPhone- App-based implemented in 2011

Cost of Cash

Have you ever wondered what the true cost is when it comes to accepting cash as a payment method? In addition, when an operation includes an on-street component, there are additional associated costs, including, but not limited to:

• Coin Counter (average cost $3K to $5k)

• Currency Machine Counters (average cost $500-$2K)

• Costs of creating and monitoring a secure money counter room

Safe to store funds until transporting for deposit

• The cost of spare/replacement canisters and cash/coin vaults

• Router updates 

• Software updates

• Preventative maintenance to smart meters (clearing jams, receipt paper, cleaning components)

• Providing staff and secure transport for the collection of cash funds

• Coin carts, coin cannisters, coin bags, etc.

From average transaction times to the cost of an average transaction, there are many differences between cash and credit transactions. Due to the rising cost of accepting cash payments, LEXPARK was hopeful that smart meters that process credit cards would significantly reduce the number of cash transactions.

Cost of Smart Meters

On top of the costs listed above, there is the additional cost of the equipment required to accept cash as an option. Whether it is as simple as a basic cashier booth, valet stand, or the complexities of a cash-accepting pay station, these costs can range anywhere between $5,000-$25,000 dollars, subject further to infrastructure requirements (i.e., power, conduit, solar etc.). In addition to upfront capital, there are also ongoing maintenance costs associated with keeping the equipment in good working order and extending the life of the equipment. As budgets tighten, whether from the effects of the pandemic or growing inflation, operators and owners need to find ways to decrease costs while increasing margins.  


Mobile Payments Introduced

In 2011, LEXPARK introduced its first mobile payment option, PayByPhone. LEXPARK made numerous efforts to increase mobile adoption as a viable payment option when paying for parking. The benefits for LEXPARK would be to not only successfully reduce their cash transactions, but if the public were to adopt mobile payments, it would enable the possibility of reducing equipment needs in the future (asset light approach) while still providing the same amount of service and positive customer/user experience.  

Best Laid Plans: In 2019, roughly eight (8) years after LEXPARK started its mobile payment option, the average adoption rate was only 18.37 percent (average of PBP from September 2019 – March 2020) and average cash transactions were still higher than LEXPARK had hoped at 34.35 percent (the average of Cash from September 2019 – March 2020).  The public did not embrace or adopt the mobile payment option as quickly as everyone had hoped.

T2 MobilePay (Texting to Park) 

In 2019, SMS technology transformed the industry, allowing a mobile payment option that did not require the user to download an app. A text to pay option, also known as SMS (Short Messaging Service), is a payment methodology that allows consumers to make a payment via texting from their smartphones. A SMS payment uses a text message service to invoice a customer. The customer can then complete their purchase by texting a response or clicking a link, sending transaction information to the merchant’s payment processor.

In early 2021, LEXPARK implemented its second mobile payment solution, T2MobilePay (Powered by TEZ/TEXT2PARK), a SMS-Text based option that does not require the use of an app and is integrated into the T2 Digital Iris Reporting Software. During the first few months, there was very little adoption. However, in August 2021, LEXPARK implemented a new signage campaign, which increased the adoption rate between September 2021 and March 2022 from 2.9 to 6.95 percent.

What is great about providing more than one option is that those who are frequent parkers and are using an app-based option tend to be “creatures of habit.” and they stick
with the app-based option. For those who are not frequent parkers and do not currently have an app downloaded,
they tend to go with the texting option.  

LEXPARK Benefits

LEXPARK was committed to taking the time and effort to accommodate the needs of the many communities they serve, from the university to residents and visitors. It was not an instant fix, and it took a few years and several steps to get there.  

Today, the organization continues to see increases in mobile adoption across both their mobile app and text-to-pay platforms. Not only is this accomplishing the most important goal of serving the needs of their communities, 

but it has also led to cost reductions by limiting cash transactions. It is exciting to see the

transformation that has occurred for LEXPARK and its customers. LEXPARK has established a successful parking payment program that will serve its
needs for many years to come. 

Katherine Beaty,
VP of Implementation at
TEZ Technology; 

Gary Means
 CAPP Executive Director at LFCPA. 

Ed Trammell
Planning &
at LFCPA; 

Linden Smith
Parking Analyst

These authors can be reached through and 

This has been an abridged version of this article. For more information on the LEXPARK story, additional strategies for reducing costs, and how parking payment technology has transformed in recent years, check out the complete version at the end of the online version of PT January. Click on the issue at

Article contributed by:
K. Beaty, E. Trammell, L. Smith, G. Means
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