I’m used to paying for my beverages at Starbucks with the Starbucks App. I can add money to my card via my credit card on file and when I pull through the drive-thru, they just hold the scanner up to my iPhone and away I go. However, I didn’t know that this kind of convenience had come to parking meters. My good friend Linda told me about the Parkmobile App and I had to take it for a spin. The city of Ferndale Michigan uses electronic parking meters that are Parkmobile compatible. Once you download the App and create a free account you can then use your iPhone to pay for your parking. Just park at a Parkmobile friendly meter and fire up the App. Each meter is marked with a Zone and Meter number. Enter the zone and meter number and you’re all set. If your meter has a barcode on it you can even use the scanner feature in the App to just scan the meter rather than having to enter the data manually. You can go on about your business and once you return to your car just end the session and you’ll be charged only for the time that you parked. This might actually save you a little money because instead of putting in a bunch of coins to cover yourself and then you don’t use up your time, you only pay for the time you’re actually there. The parking fee is the same as you would pay if you put in coins. However, there is a 35¢ charge for the use of the service each time you park. No monthly fees or other costs. Just 35¢ plus your time at the meter.
You will get an email receipt for the charge each time you use the app/service. You can set up multiple cars (by license plate).
The Bottom Line
You can of course still use coins and therefore save the 35¢ fee. However, with Parkmobile you don’t have to worry about feeding the meter or having enough change to park. I’m happy to see these kinds of modern cashless systems come into play. Parkmobile is a US based company with call centers here in the US and boasts being one of the largest cashless parking providers in the country.
On a related note I also commend the city of Royal Oak for also using cashless meters (although not Parkmobile) that are even solar powered. You can ether use coins or simply slide in a credit/debit card.