N.Y.C. Plans to Make Mobile Phone Meter Payments Possible for 85,000 Parking Spots

A street in Chinatown, looking toward the Manhattan Municipal Building.

A street in Chinatown, looking toward the Manhattan Municipal Building. Kateryna Tsygankova / Shutterstock.com

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

The pay-by-cell-phone technology is already popular in other U.S. cities.

To feed New York City parking meters, drivers will soon have the option to use a smartphone application, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office announced on Wednesday.

By the end of this year, motorists will be able to use the app to pay for parking at all of the 85,000 metered spaces in New York City’s five boroughs, according to the mayor’s office. The app will also allow drivers to add meter time using their smartphones, without going back to the place where they parked, and to get credited for time they paid for that goes unused.

“No more fumbling for change or scrambling to the meter to beat a ticket,” de Blasio said in a statement. “This is a 21st century upgrade that is going to make parking a lot more convenient.”

Similar meter-payment technology is already in use in a number of other U.S. cities, including Pittsburgh, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Cell phone parking meter payments became an option for D.C. drivers in 2011. Nearly 60 percent of meter revenue in the nation’s capital now comes from customers paying by cellphone, a spokesperson for the District Department of Transportation said by email on Wednesday.

On-street parking fees in New York City are currently paid using 13,700 so-called “Muni Meters,” which accept coins, city parking cards and credit cards. The Muni Meters dispense a receipt that has to be displayed on a vehicle’s dashboard while it is parked.

With the new mobile-app technology, police will be able to enforce parking time limits by looking at a tablet device that shows whether each parked vehicle’s meter fare has been paid.

After the roll-out of the cell-phone payment system, existing methods to pay for parking will still be possible.

According to de Blasio’s office, adding the option to pay for metered parking by cell phone will not have an impact on the city’s budget.

This, the mayor’s office said, is because the police department tablet devices that will be used for parking enforcement were acquired through a previous technology upgrade. And the city’s transportation department is developing the mobile application for the parking payments through a “no-cost innovation contract.”

New York City has tested pay-by-cell-phone meter technology in the Belmont neighborhood in the Bronx, under a pilot program that involved 264 street parking spaces and a 57-space city parking lot.

Bill Lucia is a Reporter for Government Executive’s Route Fifty. (Photo by Kateryna Tsygankova / Shutterstock.com)

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