Chicago Program Introduces Cell Phone Option for Metered Parking
Drivers in the pilot area will have the option of paying to park without having to visit a meter box, display a dashboard receipt or hurry back to feed the meter when their time is about to expire.
“People today are busier than ever and are looking for new features and more convenience when it comes to getting into and around the city,” said Dennis Pedrelli, CEO of Chicago Parking Meters, LLC (CPM), which is launching ParkChicago. “The ability to pay for and extend parking while on-the-go – whether that means sticking around longer for dessert at a restaurant or not having to worry about running out of a business meeting early – is a great service for our customers, and we look forward to rolling it out across the city.”
Currently, ParkChicago, which is powered by PassportParking, is available only where metered parking is offered within the pilot area. Bound by Washington Street to the north, Monroe Street to the south, Halsted Street to the east, and Racine Avenue to the west, the pilot area was selected for its density and volume of street parking, as well as its mix of commercial and residential development.
Meter boxes will remain in place, providing drivers with multiple ways to pay for parking, including coins, credit and debit cards. ParkChicago will eventually expand to offer mobile payment convenience at all 36,000 metered parking spaces throughout the city.
To use ParkChicago, customers must first set up an account linked to a major credit or debit card by using the app, going online to www.parkchicago.com or through their mobile phone.
The cost of parking sessions is deducted from an account pre-funded with at least $20, and accounts are automatically replenished when the balance drops below $10, similar to I-PASS, the prepaid collection system used on Illinois tollways.
While drivers can register for the new service at any time, CPM recommends waiting until ParkChicago is offered in the area serving their parking needs. New street signs displaying the ParkChicago logo will alert drivers to the service’s availability.
After locating a spot where ParkChicago is offered, drivers will open the app or the mobile website and enter in their license plate number and the 6-digit zone number displayed on each ParkChicago sign where they have parked. They then choose how long they wish to stay.
Hourly rates using ParkChicago are the same as rates displayed on meter boxes. A 35-cent convenience fee is applied to each mobile pay parking transaction of less than two hours, a rate similar to services offered in other cities. For each single transaction of two hours or more, there is no convenience fee. Customers are clearly informed of the convenience fee before confirming payment.
ParkChicago users will receive a notification ten minutes before their time expires, and have the option to add more time through their phone.
Just like at the meter box, the purchased time is portable – meaning it can be used until expiration at any metered parking space with the same or lower hourly rate, subject to any parking restrictions posted on the street.
iPhone and Android users can download the free ParkChicago mobile app at the App Store or at Google Play. Cell phone users can create an account by visiting www.ParkChicago.com or by calling (877) 242-7901 using their mobile phone. To learn more, visit www.ParkChicago.com.