Just in time for the busy summer tourism season in Traverse City, residents and visitors will be able to use their smart phones to pay for metered parking in the downtown area.
The Traverse City Downtown Development Authority tells 7&4 News that in mid-March the City Commission approved an agreement with Park Mobile, a global company that provides convenient and user-friendly mobile solutions for parking payments. The DDA then recommended the idea to the City Commission.
The current meters will stay the same, but scan code stickers will be put on them, which will allow you to buy time on the meter using your cell phone.
Originally, the DDA was hoping to have the system up and running by late March, but the contract process took longer than expected. The system will likely go into place one week after Memorial Day.
So what can you expect to see? The majority of parking meters in Traverse City will get a green sticker, with a QR Code which users will scan with their smart phones. This will bring up the Park Mobile App to download. Once on your phone, you enter credit card and license plate information, then your ready to use the app. You simply type in the parking zone number and the amount of time you want at the meter.
"You can set it up when you pay you get a text and before your time is up as a reminder so that??s a cool feature and were still checking into it but you can also add time to meter, we may not have that feature right off the bat, but were going to have it at some point," says Rob Bacigalupi from Traverse City Downtown Development Authority
DDA officials say that several other cities in Michigan like Petoskey, Grand Rapids and Detroit have teamed-up with Park Mobile company to set up smart phone parking meters.
The Traverse City DDA is hoping to someday to have all credit-card meters downtown. They are planning to do an official demonstration on one of the smart phone meters, one week after Memorial Day.
If you don't have a smart phone you can still use change to pay for time.
DDA officials tell 7&4 News the City will not owe Park Mobile any compensation, however, the City will pay a small cost for mobile credit card transaction fees. People that choose to download and use the Park Mobile Smartphone App will be paying a convenience fee of about .35 cents at the meter, which will go to the company.
Officials say this is a small step toward evenutally having credit card meters installed in the downtown area.