To pay parking meters in Champaign, there's now an app for that

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CHAMPAIGN--If you need to feed the meter for a parking spot in Champaign, there's now an app for that.

"You can ask people, do you typically have coins in your pocket or a phone in your pocket and everybody has a phone," said Nathan Berry, vice president of Passport, the company behind Champaign's new pay-by-phone venture.

The city partnered with Passport, a company that develops pay-by-phone technology in major metros across the country, and created MobileMeter, a new app developed specifically for Champaign drivers that let's them park and pay with the swipe of a screen.

"It allows them to do everything from pay for the parking space to extend if they need additional time," said Berry.

Customers simply plug in the zone and space numbers--which will be posted on each meter--select how long you'll be and how you want to pay, and with the touch of a screen, you're good to go.

"We wanted something that would use our existing equipment and that would still provide an additional convenience to the consumer," said Kris Koester, spokesman for the Champaign Public Works Department.

So you if you're running late and your meter is running low, don't worry. MobileMeter will send you a reminder 10 minutes before your time is up and allow you to refill remotely.

"The convenience fee is 25 cents," said Berry. "But it's for the entire transaction. So if you get a reminder at 10 minutes and you want to extend your time, there is no additional convenience fee for that."

The app is already available for download, but won't be ready for use until you see MobileMeter decals around your spot.     

"It'll go live as soon as you start seeing stickers on the meters, and signs on the lots," said Berry.

"They'll probably be seen first in the downtown and Campustown core areas and then spread out to the other areas," said Koester.

To all of the city's 1700 parking meters within the next two weeks.
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