HYANNIS – Park Happy… It is not a Cape Cod summertime dare. It is, instead, branding.
“Park Happy is the new logo for the parking division of the town of Barnstable,” said Elizabeth Hartsgrove, consumer affairs supervisor for the town, which oversees the parking division.
In the Bismore Park parking lot, which utilizes a kiosk and a parking app to pay $2 per hour for parking, a parking attendant called a “Gateway Greeter” is there to help with the machine and provide information to those visiting one of the most high-trafficked areas on the Cape.
Ethan Pulsifer, 22, of Barnstable, is a Gateway Greeter who has worked as a lot attendant in Bismore Park, right next to Hyannis Harbor, for four years. Before last year, there was a different machine that was more difficult to use, he said.
“When I first started, it was mostly helping people with machines. A lot of questions, how the hell do you work this,” he said. “For this machine, once you have it explained once, it sticks with you. They get it pretty well, the only question they have is do they need to put the receipt on the dash,” he said. They do not.
On the parking app card available at the booth, under “How To Park,” there are eight steps. The parking app allows people to pay for more time in the lot from another location, such as a restaurant. People love the convenience, said Pulsifer.
And while he still occasionally helps people with the machine, he spends more of his time as an ambassador for the town, and the Cape. “I like what (the job) has turned into,” said Pulsifer.
Elizabeth Cohen, 26, of Barnstable, is also a Gateway Greeter. She said that the businesses in the area are happy to have the gateway greeters around to answer questions. “Everyone in the area is excited to see us here. They get a lot of questions about the area that we can answer.”
According to Hartsgrove, there are 112 spots in the Bismore Park lot, including six motorcycle spots. Between that lot and a lot further up Ocean Street, she said, there are revenues of about $17,000 which goes directly into an account to pay for the machines, the attendants, and improvements to the park.
“This is one of the highest trafficked areas of Hyannis,” she said, of Bismore Park. It is near the Steamship Authority and the Hyline Cruise to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, as well as several popular restaurants and several artists shacks that draw people.
The Gateway Greeters is not just “to tell them how to park,” said Hartsgrove. “They deal with hundreds of visitors every day. Gateway greeters are sometimes the only town officials that these people will see. They are representing the town.”
Cohen said she enjoys meeting the public. “It takes a lot of people skills,” she said. Asked how she deals with dumb questions from tourists, she replied like a true ambassador: “There’s really no dumb question if you’re not from here.”
— Brian Tarcy
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