2011-08-24 / Front Page

City Considering ‘Pay By Phone’ Parking Meter System

Your cellphone may soon replace your quarter in the perpetual quest for metered parking spaces in New York City.
The city Department of Transportation (DOT) is currently soliciting proposals for a pilot program that would allow motorists to “top-off” parking meters without ever leaving their jobs or interrupting shopping trips.
Over the next few months, nearly 300 locations citywide will be equipped with the new technology for a one-year pilot program, the Request For Proposals (RFP) states.
Ideally, under the plan, motorists would register their credit cards with the system and then type in a unique identification number for the parking space they have chosen, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik Kahn said in a prepared statement.
The system would alert motorists when the meter needs feeding – and motorists would be able to top-off the meters using an app or text message.
“More and more is being paid by credit card, but the majority of parking fees is still cash, Deputy Transportation Commissioner Bruce Schaller said. “However, the main goal here is convenience for drivers.”
The process would be accepted by Muni-Meters, including those being installed on commercial strips in Astoria and Long Island City, DOT officials said.
The system may also help with enforcement by DOT agents and city police, making it easier for motorists to pay up before time runs out on the meters.
Sources said the technology allows motorists to buy back unused time, but city officials are not considering that option as part of the program.
The city is accepting proposals until September 13 and officials hope to implement the plan by Spring 2012.
—Liz Goff

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