Feeding Cincinnati Parking Meters With Smartphone App

Jul 23, 2015

One of Cincinnati's "smart meters"
Credit Howard Wilkinson

Now you can reach for your smartphone instead of your wallet when you pay a parking meter in Cincinnati.

The city has unveiled a mobile app that can be used at more than 4,000 on-street parking meters. Most of them are located downtown, but others are spread about neighborhood business districts throughout the city.

Oscar Bedolla, the city’s director of Community and Neighborhood Development, said Cincinnati is giving motorists an option  he says has worked in cities like Boston, Chicago and New York.

“The app itself provides the convenience for people to actually pay by phone versus having to put money in the meters,’’ Bedolla said.

The parking hours and rates will remain the same with the new technology, although city officials say there will be a 25 cent charge per use for the vendor operating the new system.

The new PassPort Parking app can be downloaded from the iPhone App Store or Android Google Play.

Motorists can still insert credit or debit cards to pay parking meters, or use coins. Parkers who do not have a smartphone can use the service by calling (513) 253-0493.

But the new app, Bedolla said, will be convenient and easy to use.

“When you go up to the actual meters you’ll see a sticker displayed on the front of each meter that speaks to the zone and the space, which are the numbers that are to be used and placed into the application,’’ Bedolla said.

When using the PassPort Parking app, the parking meter will not display the time purchased or remaining. The purchaser can view their time remaining on their phones.

Motorists can reload their parking meters from a remote location by using their smart phones. They will be sent a warning 10 minutes before the meter is to expire; and can reload it using the app.

Bedolla said there about 500 parking meters in Cincinnati neighborhoods that will soon be converted into “smart meters."