I heard from a friend in Melbourne, Australia, that the city is installing a system of pay by cell phone. In addition to embracing the program completely the city government is sweetening the deal by telling the citizenry that they will receive a text on their phone when they are nearing the time limit they paid for. They can either ‘top up’ the meter from their phone or go move their car.
The Mayor has acknowledged that the program will cost the city upwards of a million a year in lost citation revenue but he said that the goal was to make the city more responsive to parkers, not penalize them.
Wow! What a refreshing approach. When city after city are trying to find ways to stick it to their constituents to raise money, hearing someone actually planning to make it easier for parkers NOT to get citations is stunning.
My contact tells me that promotions like this, led by a very popular mayor, has brought thousands of Aussies into the pay by cell fold and enabled the city to expand the program throughout its suburbs. A nice spinoff has been that with so many people paying by cell, they don’t need as many pay and display machines so they are reallocating them to areas that has planned to add pay parking and not having to buy new machines. He expects that 20% more spaces can be handled by each machine.
Melbourne has a number of areas where angle parking is in the middle of the street. You park, and then have to hike to a P and D machine, then return to your car, all the while dodging traffic. By making these areas pay by cell only, the city is increasing the safety of its parkers, another benefit of the system.
No wonder Melbourne has been named the most livable city on the planet.