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Front Page » Top Stories » Gables To Offer Drivers Chance To Pay For Parking By Cell Phone

Gables To Offer Drivers Chance To Pay For Parking By Cell Phone

Written by on October 28, 2004

By Yeleny Suarez
A park-and-pay by cell phone program – a convenience that officials say is the first in the US – is planned to begin in January in Coral Gables.

"The one-year pilot program will be implemented citywide on streets and off streets," Parking Director William Carlson said Tuesday.

The city plans to buy 15 handheld monitors for its 12 parking enforcement officers at $249 each, a total of $3,735, he said. The monitors will be used to confirm if a driver is a customer of the service.

Potential customers must first sign up online through registration to be provided by Mint Inc. A driver who parks in a wireless payment option spot must call the posted telephone number from a mobile phone to start paying.

"Registrants will be given an access code to access their account. The system will identify the cell number and ask to put the meter number and desired time. If time is exceeded, the phone will page you and provide the option to add time," said Assistant City Manager Cachary Williams.

A driver calls the number again when pulling out to end the session. Charges are based on total parking time as calculated by the monitors.

"Customers will pay a 25-cent transaction fee and will not be able to exceed the limited meter time," said Mr. Carlson. They’ll be paged if they try to exceed the time.

Mint Inc., a Toronto company that provides for electronic payments through cell phones, magnetic cards and radio frequency transponders this month signed a deal to pilot the yearlong wireless parking service in the Gables.

A sticker on the rear bumper will identify a car using the service to parking patrols. The cost of parking will be charged to a credit card the driver specifies. A message confirming the transaction can be reviewed on the Mint Inc. website.