21st Century Parking
You’ve probably experienced this before: You’re at a meeting downtown and you realize that your parking meter is almost up. You rush to feed the meter and discover either you made it on time — hallelujah; didn’t make it on time and have a ticket; or the ghastly heat made your sticker fall off the window, and now you have a ticket.
The latter happened to me last week. Miffed, I vowed to fight the $20 ticket at the courthouse. At my hearing, a friendly officer dismissed my ticket and suggested I try the City of Austin’s new parking app, ParkX, to avoid future parking mishaps.
Launched in April after a successful pilot program in West Campus, ParkX allows drivers to purchase and add time to any city-owned metered parking spot without having to use a pay station.
The process is simple: To set it up, users input their car and billing information. When the time comes to park, users enter the parking space and zone numbers and purchase time (the app will not let you go over the maximum time designated in that parking area, though you can add time if allowed). This notifies the parking enforcement officer that you have paid.
ParkX then notifies users that their meter is about to expire, and it can produce expense reports of parking usage. The app is available to both Apple and Android users, but if a user doesn’t have a smartphone they can call or text “park” to 512-838-3874.
The city and ParkX are still working out some kinks, but the app continues to improve. For people who frequently park in metered spots, not only does ParkX help in eliminating the potential for parking tickets, but it also cuts back on waste by eliminating stickers and that annoying residue stickers leave behind on your windows, ultimately making parking a breeze.