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The City of Seattle has launched a new pay by phone parking initiative that lets you avoid those pesky pay stations. (Seattle Mayor's Office image)

Tired of dealing with Seattle's parking stations? Now there's an app for that

Tired of dealing with those pay machines and stickers to park in downtown Seattle? Now you don't have to, thanks to a new pay by phone parking initiative that officially launched Thursday.

"Just by using your phone, it's now faster and easier to pay for parking in Seattle," said Mayor Mike McGinn. "We're deploying technology to make it more convenient for people to visit downtown and our neighborhood business districts."

To pay by phone, drivers establish an account with the company PayByPhone, which won the rights to manage the system. Then, they simply enter the unique location number for the street they're parking on into an app, or by calling a toll free number.

Smartphones can also scan a QR code or tap an electronic tag on PayByPhone stickers to pay for the parking. Perhaps best of all, they no longer have to display those pesky City of Seattle parking stickers.

"There's information on the block telling you which block face you're on. It'll either be on the parking sign itself or on the pay station and it'll give you a little code," says Robert Cruickshank with the mayor's office.

Users will be charged $0.35 per transaction, and can sign up by downloading the PayByPhone app or calling 1-888-515-7275 to create an account with their vehicle license plate(s), cell phone number and credit card payment information.

One of the cool advanced features of the service is a text message reminder that will let you know if your time is expiring, and let you pay more to avoid getting a ticket (if under the maximum time allowed.)

Parking enforcement officers will use a separate mobile app to monitor the pay by phone parking.

The payment by phone service will start in the downtown retail core between First Avenue, Seneca Street, Ninth Avenue and Stewart Street. It will be rolled out to all areas with paid parking by the end of the year.

"They feel confident that it's going to work well. But we're starting downtown to make sure if something pops up we can catch it early before we give it to the whole city," Cruickshank says.

PayByPhone operates in 180 cities in North America and Europe, including San Francisco, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Vancouver, London, and New York City.


Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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