Parking Meters in City to Accept Electronic Payments
The City of Grosse Pointe approved an agreement this week with Parkmobile to allow for electronic payments to meters throughout the city as an additional option for motorists.
Soon, in addition to using coins to feed a parking meter in the City of Grosse Pointe, motorists will also be able to pay electronically if they desire using a smart phone application or by calling a phone number that will appear on the meters.
The City of Grosse Pointe council voted in favor of a three-year contract with Parkmobile, a company offering the technology that allows electronic payments for motorists on the existing parking meters.
Parkmobile is used in several other area communities, including Birmingham, Dearborn, Ferndale and Mt. Clemens.
Essentially the technology will offer motorists an additional option for paying the meter--by electronic means. The easiest and most common way the technology is used is by a motorist downloading an applicaiton onto their smart phone, which allows them to make a payment for a particular parking spot virtually.
The user may selected a specified amount of time or start the meter with no particular end time and then actually end it when they are leaving. There are restrictions in that Parkmobile only allows users to pay for the maximum parking time allowed for each meter--a detail council members wanted to ensure to keep street parking open for those trying to complete quick errands, for example.
For those who are either less technology saavy or who do not own smart phones, the electronic payment option still exists. The parking meters will have a phone number on them in which a motorist can call and make the payment over the phone.
City officials had been looking into meters that would allow for electronic payments to ease some of the frustrations expressed by motorists related to parking enforcement. Among the complaints by those receiving tickets are motorists did not have change to feed the meter and motorists stayed longer than originally expected.
The Parkmobile technology will be implemented with the existing meters, which means the City does not have to invest in more expensive meters to allow the electronic payment--a point emphasized by City Manager Pete Dame.
Additionally, the service requires minimal costs by the City, which include paying for smart phone service for two phones. Those phones, which will be used by the parking enforcement officers, will be added to the City's already existing service plan. Parkmobile is covering the cost of the actual smart phones.
The option is ultimately paid for by the motorist that chooses to pay the meters electronically through a 35-cent fee that is tacked onto the total parking cost. It is a per transaction fee, meaning those choosing to pay electronically will pay the 35-cents every time they use it.
In addition to the motorist being able to pay for the parking, if a business owner wanted to cover the cost of parking for a customer, the Parkmobile technology is able to allow such coverage.
Mike Kramer, owner of Kramer's in the Village and the Village Association president, said Monday he is in favor of the technology and believes it is a nice additional option to offer to customers. He believes all of the businesses in the Village will welcome the additional payment option.
The business employees in the Village are often the recipients of complaints related to the meters and receiving tickets. While the option has always existed to allow businesses to pay for their customers parking, as Trader Joe's does through ticket validation, the Parkmobile service will allow for a more clear option.
A representative from Parkmobile told the council this week another benefit is that once a motorist uses the technology on their smart phone, they are able to use it universally in any city that offers their payment service.
The option to pay for meters electronically will be available throughout the City, including along Mack Avenue, Fisher Road and in the Village. The council voted 6-1 in favor of the contract/service.
Councilman Christopher Boettcher was the sole nay vote. He questioned the no cost to the city aspect saying he's suspicious of anything making claims of such.
For more information on the service, visit Parkmobile's website.