Of all the great things Seattle is known for, parking is not one of them. The city is trying to change that by giving people a new way to pay: on their phone.
It’s called PayByPhone — an app that keeps track of your license plate and credit card information, then all you do when you park is enter in how long you want to stay and where you are. There is a location number on signs posted near each of the meters.
The system lets you avoid waiting for your card to process at a meter and will allow you to do everything from your car if it’s raining or late at night.
A couple of other advantages include an optional text message alerting you when your time is getting ready to expire and the ability to add more time from anywhere.
It cost the city $220,000 to buy all the equipment and train officers how to use it, but the city says the payoff is drawing more people to businesses because of the convenience.
There are a couple of downsides. Unlike the current system, one can’t move during your time period and use the same payment sticker, and there’s a $0.35 fee on each transaction.
PayByPhone is already used in dozens of cities from Los Angeles to London, and it’s even been used by some private lots in Seattle for more than a decade.
Right now it’s only available in the downtown shopping core between First Avenue, Seneca Street, Ninth Avenue and Stewart Street. The city says it should be available throughout Seattle by the end of the year.