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Pay-By-Phone Parking Meter App Expanding Citywide This Summer

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A Chicago parking pay and display box (Credit: CBS)

A Chicago parking pay and display box (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The city is expanding its pay-by-phone mobile app for street parking, planning to offer the service at all Chicago parking meters by the end of the summer.

CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, after a three-week test of the service in the West Loop, the city will begin expanding the program to the rest of the city on Tuesday.

Drivers will be able to pay for parking with the app on any street where parking meter signs say “sign up at parkchicago.com for mobile pay.”

The app saves drivers the trouble of having to walk to a pay box, print out a parking receipt, and place it on their dashboard; or to go back to their car to add time to avoid a ticket if they stay parked in a metered space longer than expected.

The new service requires only a smart phone. Once you download the app, you simply sign up with your license plate and phone number. Similar to the iPass program for paying tolls, you must pre-fund your account by loading a minimum of $20 when you sign up. That money will then be used to pay for parking at metered spaces.

When you park, you just input the zone number listed on the “Pay To Park” signs on streets with metered parking, and enter the amount of time you plan to park. When you have 10 minutes left to park, your phone will alert you so you can add more time if needed.

One drawback of the service is a 35-cent fee if you park for less than two hours. The city’s parking meter vendor said the fee goes to the operators of the app and to pay for credit card and debit card transaction fees.

The app can be downloaded for iPhones and Android devices at the App Store or Google Play. To find out more about the service, click here. If you don’t have a smart phone, you also can use any cell phone capable of text messaging, by calling 877-242-7901 when you park and following the prompts. You also can sign up with any web browser by visiting parkchicago.com to sign up.

Parking pay boxes will stay in place to take cash, credit cards, or debit cards from drivers who do not use the app.

So far, the app has been downloaded more than 3,500 times, and more than 1,600 people have registered accounts.

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