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City seeks to implement phone-paying parking meters

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The cellphone may replace the quarter in the eternal quest for parking spaces in Queens.

The city announced Tuesday it wants motorists to be able to pay parking meters using their phones.

The city Department of Transportation is soliciting proposals for a pilot program in which drivers could pay top-up meters without having to run back to a parking space or search for quarters in the nether reaches of their vehicles.

“Piloting pay-by-phone technology can eliminate the mad dash for meter change and it’s another great example of technology improving quality of life for New Yorkers,” DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn said in a statement.

Ideally, motorists would register their credit cards with the system and then type in a unique identification number for the space they choose.

The system would alert them when more money is needed and top-ups could be added remotely.

The city will accept proposals until Sept. 13 and hopes to institute the pilot program in the spring, which would test 300 parking meters in a yet-to-be-decided location.

Currently 37 percent of all meter transactions are made with credit cards or parking cards, according to the city.

Cellphone payment of meters is already in use in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and several South Carolina cities.

“We’re giving no quarter to the inconvenience of feeding coins into the meters,” Sadik-Khan said.

— Joe Anuta

Updated 11:30 am, October 12, 2011
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