COLUMBUS (WCMH) — There is a parking app in town that the city of Columbus boasts as an easy and convenient way to park and pay, and it’s expanding for use at all metered spots in the downtown area.
The app, run by ParkMobile, LLC out of Atlanta, Ga., looks easy enough to use. Basically you download it, put what payment methods you want to use, add your car’s information, and go where you need to go. What seems beneficial too, is that the app is in other cities around the country and can be used there.
As with any app or company asking for your personal banking information, READ the fine print. Remember, this app accepts your payment for parking on behalf of the city of Columbus and other participating municipalities. If you make a mistake adding your car’s info, you could get a parking ticket. Yes, you could ask for a refund from the company or plead for forgiveness should you choose to contest the parking ticket. You can read consumer discrepancies with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) here. Most of them have a resolution and the company has an A+ with the Atlanta BBB.
The app company has 55 complaints nationwide with BBB in the last three years. That’s not many in the grand scheme of things. According to the BBB website, the company often finds amicable solutions.
- The app will reduce carrying pocket change
- Help you find an open meter by using your phone’s GPS
- You can extend your time without going to your meter to pay, depending on where you parked.
The city is also adjusting parking rates. Value meters will cost fifty cents an hour with no time limit. In-demand meters will be $1 an hour with a three-hour limit. High turnover meters will cost $1.50 with a 30-minutes time limit.
The app first launched in Columbus in 2018. The implementation of the app and meter rate change starts Feb. 24, but may take a few weeks to complete.
According to the City of Columbus, the changes come as part of recommendations made in the Downtown Strategic Parking Plan, which aims to better align on-street parking rates with off-street rates, streamline time limits and decrease confusion. Since the implementation of the app, parking tickets have been reduced in the test area.
“Our parking enforcement officers are writing less tickets when it comes to meter violations,“ said Robert Ferrin. Ferrin is the assistant director of parking services for the city of Columbus. “You can get a text reminder, and email reminder, there is not a great excuse now to pay your meter because of that we’ve seen a great reduction both and meter violations.”
That means that the officers are able to do more safety and compliance measures that are required of their position, and more people can access businesses and residences.
Here’s the deal, just because you are using the app does not mean you will not get a parking ticket. You need to make sure that you are going through the process correctly.
“It’s always important to make sure that you’re parking in the right zone through the ParkColumbus or ParkMobile app make sure that you’re checking a sign or a decal and make sure that you’re choosing the right license plate and that you’re entering it correctly,” emphasized Ferrin. “You can load up to five license plates into the system. You want to make sure you pick the right one before you start parking.”
The city will not be a hard and fast with making you pay a parking ticket immediately. Instead, there will be some leeway given while more people download, use, and get used to the app.
“As we introduce the ParkColumbus app there is an opportunity for us to just dismiss outright a ticket, but if you get that ticket you still need to appeal it online,” said Ferrin.
More than 2,800 stickers need to be placed on to parking meters in downtown Columbus. This process should take a couple of weeks. If you’re not sure if a meter you’re parking next to is on the app, check the GPS and see if it registers.