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City of Boston and Fleet Financial Group Launch Smart Card Pilot Program at Parking Meters Around Boston University

City of Boston and Fleet Financial Group Launch Smart Card Pilot Program at Parking Meters Around Boston University


First Bank-Issued Smart Cards Used in Parking Meters in the U.S.

Officials from the City of Boston and Fleet Financial Group announced in a press conference yesterday that they will begin testing a smart card at parking meters around Boston University this fall. The card will be available to the general public at three Campus Convenience stores on Commonwealth Avenue near the Boston University campus and at the University’s student union. Customers will be able to use the smart card at over 200 designated parking meters located on Commonwealth Avenue, Bay State Road, Sherborn Road and Granby Street.

Boston Mayor Thomas L. Menino said, “I am pleased to offer the smart card option to Boston University drivers. Too many parking tickets are issued to drivers who would be willing to pay the meter fees but do not, simply because they are short on quarters. The smart card, a handy, convenient alternative to quarters, eliminates this problem. I expect a decrease in the number of parking tickets issued in this area for unpaid meter fees and look forward to the smart card becoming increasingly popular with local drivers.”

The smart card is provided through Fleet Technology Solutions, which provides technology to meet consumer needs. Said Michael R. Zucchini, Vice Chairman and Chief Technology Officer for Fleet, “smart cards present an exciting opportunity to offer a technology solution that will provide a key convenience to consumers in the future. Fleet has partnered with the City of Boston on this pilot to learn how smart cards can best serve our customers’ needs.”

Customers will also be able to use the smart card for purchases of other goods and services at the three Campus Convenience stores, including magazines and food, and for parking at two Boston University-operated parking lots. The City of Boston and Fleet will conduct the pilot for at least three months.

The card incorporates a built-in microprocessor chip that enables consumers to store the equivalent of cash on the card. Customers can return to the designated Boston University Campus Convenience stores as often as they wish to add more value to the card, which will hold a maximum of $100. Fleet has licensed the card technology from Setec Oy, a subsidiary of the Central Bank of Finland.

The City of Boston has installed more than 200 special red-domed electronic meters in the Boston University area that will accept the smart card, as well as coins, during the pilot program. The meters include a special safety feature, a SAM (security application module) chip which ensures the security of transactions. POM Inc., based in Russellville, Arkansas provided the meters for the pilot. The Boston-Fleet pilot is the first bank program in the United States to use this highly secure chip technology with a smart card that focuses on parking.

“The City of Boston is committed to exploring the use of new technologies to enhance city services of our residents, businesses and guests,” stated Mayor Thomas Menino. “Today I am proud to announce that Boston is the first city in the nation that is utilizing a reloadable smart card for the payment of parking meter fees.”

The City of Boston is one of many Fleet customers interested in utilizing smart card technology. “We have several commercial customers who would benefit from smart card applications. Insurance companies, municipal governments, telecommunications firms and universities are just some of our clients who would like to use this technology, “said Michael J. Curran, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Fleet’s Global Services Division. “This pilot will enable us to assess the value of smart cards to the commercial marketplace and Fleet’s role in providing smart cards to both our commercial and consumer customers.”

The Boston Transportation Department is a 450 member city agency that is responsible for ensuring that vehicles and pedestrians can move into, around and out of the City of Boston safely and efficiently. The BTD monitors and regulates traffic and parking for more than 785 miles of roadway and 3,708 public streets. The BTD keeps traffic moving and balances the competing demands for parking resources by enforcing 42 parking regulations, maintaining 717 signalized intersections, maintaining and collecting from the City’s 7,800 parking meters and annually replacing or repairing several hundred of Boston’s 28,000 street and traffic signs.

Fleet Financial Group, headquartered in Boston and listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:FLT), is a diversified financial services company with $100.7 billion in assets and more than $80 billion in assets under management. Fleet is the nation’s sixth largest commercial lender and New England’s leading small business lender. Fleet’s products and services include consumer banking, government banking, mortgage banking, corporate finance, commercial real estate lending, credit cards, insurance services, cash management, capital markets, equipment leasing and asset-based lending. Fleet also provides a wide array of investment management services for both individuals and institutional clients and operates the nation’s third largest discount brokerage firm through its Quick & Reilly, Inc. subsidiary. With 1,200 branches and more than 2,400 ATMs, Fleet also provides 24-hour telephone banking as well as online banking services through the Internet and through its PC Banking software for individuals and businesses.

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