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Pay by Phone Parking to Launch Oct. 7

Parking in Oak Park? There will be an app for that starting Oct. 7.

Parking in any of Oak Park's 4,000 public spaces will be a lot easier starting Oct. 7 with the launch of a new pay-by-phone parking program, the Village of Oak Park announced Thursday. 

“We are thrilled to introduce mobile payment technology throughout Oak Park,” Jill Velan, Oak Park’s interim Parking and Mobility Services manager said in a statement. “Mobile payment is the future of parking, and we believe the vendor we chose offers the easiest to use and most convenient system available.”

The new system will allow motorists to download an app to their smart phones that will let them pay for parking and add time to their space remotely. The program will even send motorists text message reminders 15 minutes before their parking session expires. 

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Village officials last month approved an agreement for the new service with PassportParking, an "industry leader in integrated cloud-based parking solutions that offer user-friendly cashless payment options," according to a news release from the Village of Oak Park. The system also allows for more effective and efficient parking management and enforcement operations, the village said.

Passport’s mobile payment services already are available for public parking in the Illinois communities of Brookfield, Des Plaines, Downers Grove, Glenview, Harvard, Morton Grove, Oak Lawn and Villa Park, as well as in privately owned parking facilities in several major cities including Atlanta, St. Louis and Salt Lake City.

To use the system, customers register via the free PassportParking Mobile Pay app or voice telephone system. The app is available for both iPhone and Android users. Simple registration instructions are located near each parking site.

Once registered, motorists can use the mobile payment option with the app, call a toll-free number or text the zone and space information posted at the parking site. A valid credit card is required to use the system and a 35-cent fee is levied for the initial transaction. Parking meters will continue to accept coins and pre-paid keys. And pay by space machines will continue to accept cash and credit card payments.

“Drivers are going to love paying from the warmth of their cars during the winter, and they will never have to worry about having change for meters or rushing back to their vehicles if they are running out of time,” Velan said. “The fact that businesses will be able to use the program to offer discounts and promotions for PassportParking customers who visit their stores is an added benefit.”

Drivers who use the mobile pay technology will be able to log in using a Facebook account to find nearby businesses that offer validation or other discounts.

The village will need to spend $1,500 on parking enforcement equipment a $900 monthly service fee and about $2,000 in signage costs for the program, but revenue generated from the service should offset the expense, according to a village staff memo.

“Oak Park will enjoy the benefits of the technology revolution that is sweeping the U.S.,” Bob Youakim, Managing Partner of PassportParking said in a statement. “The community will enjoy the simplicity of our mobile payment option and the many conveniences our technology offers."

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