The Bloomington Board of Public Works approved a contract September 24th for a mobile app that drivers can use to pay the new parking meters. The app is offered by the company Park Mobile.
Amanda Feuquay, with the Public Works Department, said the app can be used to start, stop or extend a parking session using a phone, a computer or a 1-800 number. She said some businesses might also use the app for their customers.
“If I walk into a merchant, and they’ve decided they want to pay for my parking that evening, or that day, they can call park mobile. All they need is my name, my license plate number. And they can pay for my parking session while I am there. They can also order validation codes for their customers to use. And that can be anywhere, from 15 minutes to on-going 14 hours when the meters are alive.”
The company doesn’t charge the city to offer the service, but it does charge a fee to anyone that uses the app. Users will have to sign up with the company, and regular account holders will pay normal parking fees plus a cost of 50 cents for each transaction.
Feuquay said there are ways to reduce that cost with other types of accounts. Board President Charlotte Zietlow asked how the public might react to the costs.
“This is just another option we can offer. It goes hand to hand with what we currently offer. In our research, we found that it dose have really good feedback for many users. So, I think it will be a good option for the city to offer. And Indianapolis is the closest one to us. ”
The city administration frequently mentioned the parking meter app when it sought approval to install the meters earlier this year. Officials including Public Works Department Director Susie Johnson said it would be easy to pay the meters from, for instance, inside a restaurant. Board member James McNamara asked if anything had changed about that arrangement.
“The notion of you are at the restaurant, the dinner is running late. You feed two hours and you have a great time. So, you don’t want a ticket, and you want to increase the parking time. So, this would be an app on a smart phone, you would punch and enter your license plate number. You would first have to download the app and register for it. Once you have the application installed and your payment information is in there. You can start, stop,extend any parking session.”
Feuquay said the app should be available for use by the public in four to six weeks.