AUSTIN (KXAN) - Parking around Austin just got a little easier because Wednesday the city launched EasyPark , a device that allows drivers to pay parking meters from the comfort of their car.
"I always use a lot of coins, and sometimes I don't always carry my debit card with me," explained Robert Cox, who works downtown. "But if I were to get this, it would actually make it easier."
EasyPark is an outside company that's providing the service to the city.
Drivers would be able to leave the coins and credit cards behind and transfer money onto a little yellow device that parking enforcement can see.
People have to first sign up and buy a device, but the company will ship it with $10 already on it as a beginning balance.
How does it work?
- Drivers will first select the city they're in.
- Choose the proper parking "zone," which is located at parking stations.
- Then hang it on the window closest to the curb.
"It's a little more convenient for folks than getting out of your car in 100-degree weather, walking over to the pay station, getting a receipt. And it's also green," said Steve Grassfield, the parking enterprise manager with the city.
There is a price tag for this convenience, including a monthly membership fee which would include support and battery replacements.
What it costs
- $29.95 per device
- $10 worth of parking included
- $1-per-month membership fee
- reloading fees
- The company is offering a $19.95 promotion until the end of the month.
Grassfield said ParkEasy lets people not only ditch the change, but they wouldn't have to go back and forth to the meter. They would just have to turn on the EasyPark and go about their business.
According to the EasyPark website, there are restrictions such as parking in a pay station -- rather than a temporary stay -- and staying in the space longer than the time limit as posted on the meter. Those are considered parking violations.
Drivers would only pay for the time they use, which is in 15-minute increments. Also, people would be able to turn on the device before meter hours start and will only be charged once they kick in at 8 a.m. and will stop charging when the meter hours end.
If a person drives away and doesn't turn it off, the device will beep every minute as a reminder.
Austin is the first city in Texas to test out the new gadget, and city officials said they're looking into expanding the service to parking garages in the future.
The city worked on this project for about a year after first getting the idea from a parking conference according to Grassfield. He said EasyPark is not costing the city any money. In Europe, there are already a million of these devices.
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