Paying for parking with your phone might not be far off


The city’s Public Works Department plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to create a mobile phone payment system for on-street parking.

The City Council’s Transportation & Public Works approved its proposal to issue an RFP at its meeting this morning. 

Under most systems, people call a number listed on their parking meter space or pay station and then enter their space or license plate number. They could setup payment by credit card with a smartphone app.

The Public Works department listed many benefits to the program in a report presented to the city’s Transportation & Public Works Committee. It would make it easy to pay for parking inside a car during poor weather conditions, customers would get text message alerts when a meter is about to expire and payments could be made from any location.

Many cities across the country have mobile phone payment programs for parking meters, including Houston, Seattle, Vancouver and Washington, D.C., according to the Public Works report.

The department is expected to issue the RFP in February and select a vendor by the end of April. The city would test the payment program in certain areas within the city and then roll out the service citywide by next fall. 

The city took in about $12.1 million in on-street parking revenue in 2013 — up from roughly $10 million in 2012, according to Casper Hill, a spokesman for the city.