Drivers in some parts of Minneapolis will soon be able to plug their parking meters with a few swipes on their smartphones.
In May, the city plans to begin offering the service at about 500 of its 7,500 meters. More spots will be added to the pay-by-phone system in August and September and the entire city could be linked in by late fall.
The new technology is operated by a Georgia company called Parkmobile, but the fees will be collected by the city. Drivers who opt to use their phones will pay a convenience fee, with a cheaper option for people who sign up for a 99-cent monthly membership fee.
Users of the system can either download the Parkmobile app on their smartphones and tablets or call to pay. For those who pay by credit card, the fee will be 25 cents per transaction, or 15 cents for those who pay the membership fee.
Alternatively, drivers can set up a prepaid account called a “wallet” and get cheaper fees: 20 cents or 10 cents with a membership.
Once drivers have paid for a spot, they’ll see a countdown clock within the app and can add more time to the meter.
Meters will still be able to be paid by credit card or coins after the phone option is added.
The city has not yet finalized which meters will be the first to join the pay-by-phone system. Those that are included will be marked and Parkmobile may send employees to some areas to help provide information about the new option, said William Cieminski, the city’s parking systems manager.
Parkmobile was selected as the provider of the system in September, months after the city requested proposals from parking systems companies.
Cieminski said the city is now poised to move forward, as soon as the full council votes on the plan. The council’s Transportation and Public Works Committee on Tuesday approved a three-year agreement between the city and Parkmobile, with an option to extend the contract for two more years.
“We hope to get started almost immediately,” Cieminski said.
The speed of the rollout to the rest of the city depends on how quickly officials can work out any bugs with payments or enforcement.
Cieminski said the Parkmobile system will not come with any additional fees to be paid by the city, beyond those already charged for credit card transactions at meters.