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City of Seattle

July 18, 4:16 PM click here to comment > 8

Seattle launches pay by phone for parking

Making it more convenient to park on the street, today Mayor McGinn launched the City of Seattle’s new pay by phone parking initiative. Beginning with downtown’s retail core, drivers are now able to use their phones to pay for on-street parking without needing to visit a pay station or display a printed sticker. Users can receive text message updates and buy more parking from their phone, if they have not yet reached the maximum time allowed.mayor paybyphone 01 sm

“Just by using your phone, it’s now faster and easier to pay for parking in Seattle,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “We’re deploying technology to make it more convenient for people to visit downtown and our neighborhood business districts.”

With an established PayByPhone account, drivers can simply pay for on-street parking with their phone and the unique location number for each street. Smartphones can also scan the QR code or tap the Near Field Communication tag on PayByPhone stickers to initiate the streamlined payment.

The City of Seattle has partnered with PayByPhone, a leading international provider of services allowing consumers to use mobile phones to pay for parking. The company, selected through a competitive procurement process by the Seattle Department of Transportation, operates in 180 cities in North America and Europe, including San Francisco, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Vancouver, London and New York City.

“We’re very excited to bring the convenience of PayByPhone parking payments to Seattle,” said Barrie Arnold, chief commercial officer of PayByPhone. “Local businesses, shopkeepers, cafes and restaurants in Seattle will all benefit as their customers  can more easily pay and better avoid a parking ticket.”

Users will be charged $0.35 per transaction and will not need to display a pay station receipt on their window. Drivers can sign up by downloading the PayByPhone app or calling 1-888-515-7275 to create an account with their vehicle license plate(s), cell phone number and credit card payment information.

A text message reminder is one of the new features of the service. Users can choose to receive text messages about their parking time expiration, which will allow them to decide whether to extend their time (if under the maximum time allowed). This will help improve compliance with parking rules and provide what will surely be a popular benefit for users.

“Surveys have shown that parking has long been a barrier to entry for people coming to Downtown Seattle,” said Downtown Seattle Association President & CEO Kate Joncas. “With PayByPhone making on-street parking faster and more convenient, visitors benefit and that helps maintain Downtown Seattle as the region’s preferred urban destination.”

The Seattle Police Department’s Parking Enforcement Officers will use separate mobile devices to check in real time license plates that have paid by phone.

The payment by phone service will start in the downtown retail core between First Avenue, Seneca Street, Ninth Avenue and Stewart Street. It will be rolled out to all areas with paid parking by the end of the year.

More information on PayByPhone in Seattle is available at

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Posted by: Words: April Thomas, Pictures: Jen Nance


Comment from Eduardo Mendonça
Time July 18, 2013 at 6:47 pm

I used this service about 3 years ago in Honolulu when it was on its experimental phase. I like that.

Comment from paul Valenti
Time July 19, 2013 at 7:42 am

You can pay for parking with a credit card, with quarters and now, with a smart phone – but you still cannot pay for parking with cash – even though every vending machine in the world accepts dollars bills – Seattle’s parking meters do not.

Comment from Cheryl McChesney
Time July 19, 2013 at 8:51 am

I do not plan to use the pay by phone! It is my opinion that the old orginal just put a few quarters into the machine worked just fine! The new machines don’t work half the time, and no way am I going to use my phone to pay for parking. I will just go downtown less now!

Comment from Patty
Time July 19, 2013 at 10:32 am

I always thought part of the reason for meters and street parking was that you couldn’t stay parked in one location all day long. Won’t this just make it easier for people to “squat” in on-street parking? Also, how does this help promote the use of public transportation?

Comment from Walt Hhill
Time July 19, 2013 at 11:14 am

Maybe they’ll have a smart phone app to help you find a parking space. The data and the technology exist!!

Comment from Larry
Time July 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm

@ Patty, re-read the article: “Users can choose to receive text messages about their parking time expiration, which will allow them to decide whether to extend their time (if under the maximum time allowed). “

Pingback from PayByPhone brings mobile parking payment to downtown Seattle, but tech fees spring up |
Time July 21, 2013 at 12:59 pm

[…] the Near Field Communication tag on PayByPhone stickers to initiate the streamlined payment,” a press release from the Mayor’s office reads. Built around an app platform — available for iPhones, […]

Comment from frogulous
Time July 22, 2013 at 3:55 pm

The problem with downtown parking isn’t finding a payment method. The problem is finding available parking spaces!