No loose change needed: Dayton to launch app to pay for parking

‘User friendly’ option allows people to pay using a phone app.

The city of Dayton is planning to launch an app that lets drivers pay for parking on their phone instead of using a meter.

Drivers who use the app will still be able to pay meters with coins or credit cards, but when the app launches it will create a third option to pay with a few phone taps.

“It’s very intuitive, it’s very user friendly,” said, Monica Jones, assistant to the city manager.

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The goal is for the parking app, operated by Passport, to go live by Dec. 1. The city council approved the project to move forward at the Sept. 8 meeting.

Depending on how the city sets up the rules for the app, there could be a self-service merchant option so that business can validate parking for their patrons. Drivers that pay through the app could also get notices while in a restaurant in a meeting that their time is almost up and can pay on the spot to extend time before it runs out, without having to run back to a meter.

The city will also be able to access more information about parking so they can have better data aggregated about parking in the downtown.

The parking app initiative traces back five years ago, when a parking consultant strongly recommended the city get a parking app among a list of recommendations. Other recommendations included modifying fining policies, establishing more consistent and desirable time limits on meters, and changing other parking policies.

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Users download the app, create an account, and when they want to park they chose a spot and enter the license plate number to start a parking session.

The app doesn’t need any new capital and Passport makes a $0.30 cut per transaction.

The contract estimates that, if the app has a 15% adoption rate, that it will make an estimated $90,000 in revenue in fiscal year 2022 and come with $35,000 in expenses. For fiscal year 2023, that’s an estimated $100,000 in revenue and $40,000 in expenses.

Some Daytonians already use the app because Passport is already in the Oregon District and work with ABM, which manages some of the district’s parking lots. More cities and organizations are adopting mobile payment options to pay for parking, such as Columbus, Hamilton, Ohio State University, and University of Cincinnati.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said she is excited for the app and that she personally has been using parking apps more.

“I think folks use them a lot more as they’re getting around,” Whaley said.

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