There's An App For That: Darien Updates Train Station Parking Technology

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Newly installed pay kiosks at Darien's two train stations will replace the daily scratch-off vouchers currently in use.
Newly installed pay kiosks at Darien's two train stations will replace the daily scratch-off vouchers currently in use. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

DARIEN, Conn. -- Frustrated by the parking at the train stations? Darien has introduced new technology designed to make it easier to pay for the privilege.

Six pay stations went online Monday at the Darien and Noroton Heights train stations. The kiosks accept cash and credit and debit cards, and will replace the daily scratch-off parking vouchers currently used at the train stations.

The town will continue to sell parking vouchers until the end of August, and vouchers will be honored until the end of the calendar year, Town Administrator Karl Kilduff said.

Darien train riders will also be able to use a new parking app to pay on the go. The "mpay2park" app is available through iTunes and Google Play as a free download, and allows users to pay for parking with their smartphones. Users will also be able to pay through a website. Some people tried to use the app early and experienced some programming issues with it, Kilduff said.

"My understanding is that the Noroton Heights aspect is now functioning properly, and at Darien the app is still in the process of being fixed," he said.

All of the parking stations were used on the first day, with the exception of one located on the northbound side of the Darien station, Kilduff said. The majority of the transactions were made with a credit/debit card, he said.

The new technology is one step the town is taking to alleviate parking problems at the train stations, where commuters often have to wait seven and 10 years before they can get parking permits.

The Board of Selectmen recently began meeting in its capacity as the town's Parking Authority and is exploring options on how to fix parking.

One of the options the town is exploring is a possible parking garage in the Leroy-West parking lot near the Darien station. The town's 2014-15 budget includes $55,000 for a feasibility study to see whether a parking garage would be suitable for the location.

Last month, the town also transferred $3,200 from its contingency fund in this year's budget to conduct a traffic study that will be used in the feasibility study.

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