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Updated: Pay-by-phone parking on Westminster Street

Pay-by-phone parking sign on Westminster Street

I noticed these signs on Westminster Street this afternoon allowing people to pay for parking by phone. I had heard this was coming, but was not aware it was here yet.

The service apparently is run by Park Mobile, which from looking at their site seems to provide service for some MBTA lots, so maybe some of you have used it.

There’s no information on the Park Downtown Providence site yet. If I find out more I’ll update this post. If anyone tries it out, let us know how it goes.

Update: The City issued the following Press Release about this pilot program:

City of Providence Launches Pay-By-Phone Parking

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pilot program at 35 metered spaces promotes convenient, affordable parking downtown.

As part of its efforts to promote convenient and affordable parking in the downtown business district, the City of Providence has launched a pilot program that enables residents and visitors to use their mobile phone to pay for parking.

The new pilot program is being offered on Westminster Street in downtown Providence, at about 35 metered spaces with easily identifiable silver domes and green stickers. The meters also accept coins and credit cards.

“Providence is a vibrant city with fantastic restaurants, shops and arts-and-culture venues. We are taking steps to make parking easier for anyone who drives into downtown Providence to explore all that our city has to offer,” said Mayor Angel Taveras.

It’s easy to use the new pay-by-phone parking meter system. Simply register for free at parkmobile.com. After setting up the account, customers can immediately start using the system to pay for parking with their registered mobile phone by using a mobile app, the Internet, or by calling toll free, 1-877-727-5717.

A 35-cent user transaction fee will be assessed for each pay-by-phone meter payment.

Once logged on to the pay-by-phone system, customers will be prompted to enter the 3-digit zone number and 2-or-3 digit space number located on an easy-to-find green sticker on the outside of the meter facing the street. After entering the numbers, customers will need to wait about 10 seconds for confirmation.

Pay-by-phone users have 24/7 access to their online account; they can print reports and easily track their parking expenses. They can also select the option to receive text message alerts and reminders.

The pay-by-phone parking initiative is the most recent of several downtown parking improvements, including the installation of signs directing drivers to parking lots, the replacement of on-street meters, and the identification of additional low-cost on-street parking spaces.

In October, 2011, the City and the Providence Downtown Improvement District (DID) announced Park Downtown Providence, a program that promotes convenient and affordable parking in the downtown district.

The Park Downtown Providence website, parkdowntownprovidence.com, contains information about parking rates and locations downtown, and an interactive parking map that enables people to select destinations and find parking nearby, or choose important criteria such as ‘credit cards’ or ‘monthly parking.’ It also highlights parking specials.

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3 Responses to Updated: Pay-by-phone parking on Westminster Street

  1. Rob January 19, 2012 at 6:51 am #

    Jef,
    I have been using this for about a year at the commuter rail stations, and it is really great. It will be interesting to see if they allow “meter feeding”, though, and how long you are given to pay by phone before you are ticketed.

  2. Towne Street January 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    A 35-cent user transaction fee will be assessed for each pay-by-phone meter payment.

    I appreciate them trying new ideas to make paying easier. But why would I use my phone to pay and cost myself extra money when it’s easier to use my credit card for free. Maybe it’s quicker with a QR scanner, but I still am charged for it.

  3. RunawayJim January 22, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    Agreed. I do the same thing with taxes and parking tickets. Why would I pay online where they charge me a $2-3 fee when I can pay by check without costing myself extra? I know the city is charged a fee by the credit card companies, but they should suck it up and accept it. It costs them less to process those types of payments than it does for them to process a payment by check.

    In the case of this service, if they want to make it easy for people to pay to park, do so, but don’t charge them extra, especially when parking on the street costs no more than a dollar or 2. That’s 17.5-35% in fees, which is ridiculous. I still keep quarters in my car just for the meters. Guess I’ll continue to do so because there’s no way I’m gonna pay extra to park just to use a service like this.

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