City solicits pay-by-phone parking service

March 23, 2016

Photo courtesy Rebecca Bennett.

BY REBECCA BENNETT — If you utilize any of the city’s metered parking lots while you are going to dinner, attending an event, shopping or taking a class, etc., a revolutionary change may be on the horizon.  Paying for parking may become as easy as entering a few numbers on your cell phone app instead of locating the nearest pay station and waiting in line. Drivers would still have the option to pay at the existing kiosk, but the cell phone parking application would offer a convenience factor for some residents and visitors.

In 2015, the city began looking at pay-by-phone parking services, issued an RFP and surveyed 500 people who parked in or near a public lot, according to a city memo.

“We believe we’re at a point where we need to make this option available to customers in the city,” Hyattsville City Administrator Jim Chandler said.

The city received seven proposals and completed an initial review of those proposals, Chandler said.  According to a city memo, each firm was evaluated based on their overall professional qualifications and experience, track record, existing market share, integration across multiple parking service platforms, product intuitiveness, pricing proposal and client scale.

Chandler said three firms, Passport, ParkMobile and MobileNow!, were all interviewed, but that Passport is the staff recommended pay-by-phone parking firm.  The company uses Facebook registration, which Chandler said was a significantly quicker way to register.  Users also have the option of registering by phone number or email.  A smartphone would not be required, users can also pay via voice call or text message.

Passport will visit Hyattsville, talk to residents and make a presentation to the city council on April 18. The council is expected to take action on May 2.