PPAP implemented an electronic ticketing system and has continued to upgrade its technology over the past decade.
According to Anthony Boule, Director of Administration and Pittsburgh Parking Court, PPAP has relied on Zebra® printers for more than a decade, and currently equips all officers with the Zebra QL 320™ model.
Durable and lightweight, the Zebra QL™ series printers are well-suited to PPAP's demands. Enforcement officers easily carry the two-pound printers on their belts. With a wireless Bluetooth® connection, the officers use their handhelds freely without being tethered.
PPAP loads printers with rolls of blank, seven-inch tickets preprinted with a header and footer with standard information. For the location, enforcement officers simply scan barcodes on parking meters and the software auto-fills the street address, along with the date and time.
Enforcement officers then select from drop-down menus the make and model of the car, the license plate number and one of more than 70 different viola¬tion codes. When they enter a code, the software automatically fills in the amount of the fine, without requiring officers to remember the various amounts.
One of the most compelling aspects of Gtechna's MES™ software is its ability to automate the end-to-end process. The intuitive interface, combined with customer-defined drop-down lists and automatic repetition of recurring data, allows for easy screen navigation and data entry. To issue a ticket, an officer simply adds an electronic signature, a ticket is printed, and data is sent wirelessly to a central server at the end of the shift where it can be easily accessed through ticket management software.
In five to six hours, officers might issue as many as 300 tickets. Each one takes less than a minute to produce.
Each roll contains 200 tickets, so officers dispense tickets without interruption. At no time is that more critical than during street cleaning. Officers must work behind the street-cleaners to ticket cars still parked during posted cleaning times.
"Street cleaning is a pretty good load on the printer and handheld. It puts the printer to the test," said Judi DeVito, Director of Enforcement and Meter Services at PPAP. "The printer never seems to have a problem keeping up; it's more the enforcement officer keeping up with street-cleaning equipment."
With Zebra printers, PPAP also produces more legible tickets than before. Not only can citizens can read them easily, but the tickets stand up to the Pittsburgh weather—reducing the number of questions and objections about tickets.
"It rains and tickets are left on cars. It's a pretty durable ticket," Vennero said. "We have very few complaints about readability."
Twice every day, tickets upload to the server for citation management and processing. Electronic entry at the street level, and then no duplicate entry, reduces errors dramatically.