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New Pay-by-Phone Option Offered at Every City Parking Meter

Parkers Can Use a Smartphone App or Place a Toll-Free Call to Pay For Parking with Credit Cards
Pay-by-Phone Parking Meter
Green stickers affixed to every parking meter in town let customers know about the new pay-by-phone system. Charlie Kratovil

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Parkers can now pay by credit card at any parking meter in New Brunswick, including those without any credit card slots.

Last month, the New Brunswick Parking Authority implemented a pay-by-phone service, Parkmobile, to serve the 830 of the city's 1000 meters that have no slot for credit cards.  The system also works at the credit-card enabled meters as well as an NBPA lot on Somerset Street.

The system provides a new advantage for parkers on the go: They will be able to add additional time to their meters without physically having to return to the site of the meter.

But it will also costs parkers an extra 35 cents per transaction, sometimes more than the cost of the parking itself.  In September, the City Council also voted to increase rates at many of the city's meters, partly to support the implementation of the new system.

Already, more than 300 people have used the service a total of 909 times, according to NBPA Executive Director Mitch Karon.  The system is most popular on Easton Avenue between Hamilton and Somerset (67 transactions) and Hamilton Street between Easton and College (64 transactions).

In order to use the pay-by-phone system, one would call (877) 727-5704 (877-PARK-704), the Parkmobile number for New Brunswick.  He or she would then identify the parking zone number, which is displayed on a green Parkmobile sticker on the meter.  Zone numbers can be anywhere from 6501 to 6572.

In the same phone call, the customer would input their license plate, the amount of time he or she wants to park and select a method of payment.  Parkmobile accepts Visa, Discover, American Express, MasterCard, and even PayPal.

A mobile application is also available for smartphones that will save parkers the trouble of making the phone call.The Parkmobile system is not connected to the parking meters themselves.

Parkmobile communicates its transactions directly to parking enforcement officers via handheld devices.  The enforcement officers, in turn, refrain from ticketing cars with license plate numbers approved by the system.

New Brunswick joins Glen Rock, Englewood, Summit, Newark, and Montclair as the sixth New Jersey municipality to implement the Parkmobile system.

Additionally, there are about 170 parking meters that directly accept credit cards, out of roughly 1,000 meters around New Brunswick.  Credit cards have already been accepted in the paid parking lots and garages for several years.

Some meters began accepting credit cards two years ago, with 56 meters on Elm Row and Bayard St, solar-powered devices that were given a 90-day trial.  Since then, credit card meters have also been installed along College and Easton Avenues.

Karon says he wants to add more of those meters, which cost the authority around $500 each, as we reported earlier this year.