The City of Bellingham is expanding options for paid parking in the downtown core through the launch of the PayByPhone service in the city. Drivers can now pay for and manage parking through the PayByPhone smartphone app or by calling a dedicated phone number, in addition to using the traditional meters and pay stations.
The new service was rolled out, beginning last month, in an effort to make parking downtown easier and more convenient. Prior to PayByPhone's arrival, drivers could only pay for parking using change at a meter, unless a digital pay station was available. The PayByPhone service uses a customer's credit or debit card for parking payments.
“We're excited to provide drivers with such a convenient option to pay for parking in Bellingham,” Clark Williams, superintendent of Traffic, Communications, Fleet and Facilities for the City of Bellingham, said. “PayByPhone alleviates the common pain of not having change to pay for parking since now all you need is your smartphone.”
To begin using the service on their smartphone, drivers need to download the PayByPhone app, register an account and enter their payment and license plate information. Once registered, drivers pay for parking by entering a location code (found on the parking meter or posted in the garage) into the app. The system automatically calculates parking time limits, cost and restrictions so users can seamlessly manage their parking session.
PayByPhone is also fully integrated into the city's parking enforcement system. Enforcement officers are alerted to all PayByPhone parking confirmations, ensuring users can park with peace of mind. Additionally, PayByPhone gives drivers the ability to see all of their transactions online, a convenience for business users handling monthly expenses.
More convenient parking options also have a direct impact on the urban community and retail industries, said Mason Luvera, Downtown Bellingham Partnership communications director.
“Addressing the barriers around parking encourages people to frequent downtown,” Luvera said. “Having easy and affordable parking can be the difference between someone stopping and spending the day downtown or simply driving through.”
PayByPhone is currently used in more than 300 locations worldwide. Closest to Bellingham, the service is available in Seattle and the Vancouver, Canada metropolitan area.