Gone are the days of rushing back to your car only to discover a parking ticket because you didn’t have enough change in the meter, your meeting on Main Street ran late or grabbing a quick sandwich at Zoës Kitchen took longer than you expected. Neither will there be any more frantic searching for coins for the meter, only to discover pennies and dollar bills.
Smartphone users will be happy to hear that the City of Columbia launched a new pay-by-phone parking app for meters downtown in an effort to revitalize parking services in the city. App users can now pay for any of the approximately 4,600 parking spots in Columbia using the PassportParking Mobile Pay app. This refreshing upgrade is surely welcome, as a ticket for an expired meter in the city is about $8, a second violation at the same meter is $12 and a third violation is $17.
This free app, provided by Charlotte-based Passport, provides a simpler, more convenient way to pay for parking. Passport is no newcomer in South Carolina though, as Charleston recently partnered with the parking app to allow residents and visitors of downtown Charleston to pay for parking with their smartphone.
Passport prides itself on secure, fast and reliable service. The app includes features such as notifications when the parking meter is close to expiring and the ability to extend a parking session to the maximum time limit. Another added convenience in using the app is immediacy. Users should be able to pay for a parking meter in less than two minutes.
This app also adds convenience for local business owners. By using the merchant validation program, businesses can offer customers discounted parking with a validation code. Businesses are able to take advantage of this feature by signing up and prefunding accounts to subsidize parking payments. Customers simply park at the facility and pay with Passport, then enter the validation code they receive from the merchant to receive discounted parking at the business. Business owners can also integrate the validation process into their Facebook pages to publicize their collaboration with Passport. This process not only gives the customer discounted parking, but also gives merchants more foot traffic.
Download the PassportParking Mobile Pay app from the iPhone App Store, Google Play for Android or online at m.ppprk.com.