Quarter Flash : New Smart Phone Meter Payment Program Goes Live

The City is going live with a new parking meter payment system this week, one that gives those parking the ability to pay with their smart phones and not just via increasingly-hard-to-find nickels, dimes and quarters.

Assistant City Manager Ned Keefe said the City will be using the Parking Passport program, and it will also be compatible with the ParkBoston App that the City of Boston has been using for the past four years.

“It’s available at any meter in Chelsea as of this week,” said Keefe. “It is the official kick-off now and it’s meant to make it easier for people to not look around for coins.”

The Parking Passport app is available at the Google Play or App Store, or it can be signed up for on the City of Chelsea’s website. However, if people already have the ParkBoston app, it will be compatible with Chelsea’s parking app.

“Because of our proximity to Boston, if you signed up for that app you are automatically signed up for the app in Chelsea,” he said. “If you haven’t signed up for ParkBoston, you can go onto our Chelsea website.”

The program divides the City’s meters up into many different zones, and one will have to enter the number of the zone that is printed on the meter or on the sign near the meter. That will be crucial in letting meter enforcement officers know who has paid and who has not. The information is shared electronically with enforcement officers, and those passing by will not be able to see that the meter has been paid.

“It will be known to the meter enforcement officers, but not really evident to those passing by,” he said.

In the future, he said the City might upgrade its meters, and those meters would reflect the amount of time purchased via smart phone as well as coins.

Like with ParkBoston, each transaction using the app results in a $.15 charge that is wrapped into the meter fee and paid for by the customer.

However, that fee allows customers to be able to pay without coins, and it also allows them to add money to a meter – two-hour or 10-hour meters – without having to go out to the meter. With the phone, additional time can be purchased remotely.

“This is part of a customer improvement effort that we’ve been working on for our entire parking program,” he said.

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