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Parking in St. Louis? Get The Parkmobile App

May 5, 2015 Featured, Parking 2 Comments

I’ve now had two instances where I used the Parkmobile smartphone app to pay for time parking on-street, both downtown. The first was on 10th Street between Olive & Locust, the second on 13th between Olive & Pine.Both were last month.  The Parkmobile app had been on my phone since late 2014, I’d only set up my profile (car license plate & credit card) but never had a need to use it since I rarely drive our shared car.

1) 10th Street: 

As soon as I hit "start parking" the countdown timer began.
As soon as I hit “start parking” the countdown timer began.

After parking I had two choices: walk a car length in the opposite direction of my destination and use the pay station or try out the mobile app. The combination of a shorter walk and getting to use my phone rather than fumble with money or credit card made the decision a no brainer. I knew this convenience would cost me $0.35.

I manually typed in the zone number & space number indicated on the sign for my space, I opted for two hours (maximum) and used most of it by the time I returned.

2) 13th Street: 

The second time we were returning home from lunch on South Grand, we decided to stop for dessert. My husband could’ve put change in the meter while I was getting out of the car, but I wanted to use the app again.

This spot had the meters we're all pretty familiar with  plus a new green sticker with the zone number and a QR code in the bottom right
This spot had the meters we’re all pretty familiar with plus a new green sticker with the zone number and a QR code in the bottom right
This time I selected "scan" rather than type the number. This is the menu that pops up. I selected the first but it wouldn't read it so I canceled and entreated manually.  No space numbers here since meters are individual.
This time I selected “scan” rather than type the number. This is the menu that pops up. I selected the first but it wouldn’t read it so I canceled and entreated manually. No space numbers here since meters are individual. Note: this screen shot was made later that day
We paid for an hour, I'd received a 15 minute warning from the app
We paid for an hour, I’d received a 15 minute warning from the app, I took this screen shot when we got bask to our car. As we had only used 1 hour of the 2 hour maximum the app gave us the option to extend the session — which costs the time plus another $0.35 fee.

While we had dessert I tweeted about the problem with the QR code. The Treasurer’s office tweeted back “The QR code allows you to download the app…not enter the space #” This, it turns out, was untrue — more later.   Whomever was tweeting even suggested I watch Parkmobile’s video if I needed help — the video isn’t on Parkmobile’s mobile-friendly site anyway.

As it turns out I was using the app correctly — the person tweeting for the Treasurer’s office didn’t understand the use of the QR code within the app. Parkmobile clarified in two tweets:

  • First“Hi , if you scan the QR code in our app it will populate the zone #.”
  • Second  If you scan it through an independent QR scanner, it will take you to our website. Hope this helps!” 

So when it wouldn’t load that first time it was either my AT&T service or their server. If this happens to you just manually enter the zone, I tested the QR code later and it worked in seconds.

Here’s the video the Treasurer’s Office office wanted me to watch, which clarifies the QR code can be used within the app — something they didn’t realize! Have they not watched it?

I really like this app, the fact the QR code does double duty is a nice bonus. I realize not everyone likes the idea of paying $0.35 every time they park on street. But if you have a smartphone I’d advise having the app set up in case you find yourself parking and not having any change for the meter — you don’t want to wait until that point to 1) download the app 2) add your vehicle 3) link to your credit card — just have it ready to use. Eventually every meter in the city will be marked for mobile payment.

The Parkmobile app works on the following mobile devices:

Give it a try!

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    Percentage-wise, that’s a pretty steep “convenience fee”, way more than Ticketmaster charges, which raises the question of who gets the fee? The Parkmobile folks? The city? Is it shared? And, is there any sort of record / virtual receipt / paper trail (and how hackable / user modifiable is it?), to “prove” that you actually paid, when the inevitable happens and you receive an incorrect / unfair citation?

    Like you, I rarely park on the street, either, so I’ll probably get the app, “just in case”. But it’ll be interesting to see if it’s widely used. I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be a lot like the Loop Trolley – people will use it a few times, try out the new “toy”, but will pretty quickly figure out that it’s an expensive “solution” to a question most people aren’t asking in the first place!

     
    • Brendan says:

      I assume that the fees go to Parkmobile or to the payment processor. I think the parking in St. Louis is very cheap, much cheaper than other cities I’ve been to, so even with tacking on that fee it’s still a relatively low price to park.

      Regarding the paper trail, when I’ve used the app I always get an email receipt, and since I use PayPal to pay I also get a receipt from them as well.

       

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