Pay-by-phone parking returns to Philly

Paying for parking by smartphone is coming back to Philadelphia.

The parking app meterUP relaunched Monday, and the Philadelphia Parking Authority will be posting signs on streets where the app is usable in the coming weeks, the agency said in a news release. The areas of the city covered by meterUP will continue to expand over the next four months, with the goal of making the app usable with all metered spots in the city by March 30, a spokesman said Monday.

The app lets drivers use a smartphone to bypass parking kiosks and add time to the meter remotely. It also allows users to cancel time paid for if an errand takes less time than expected.

The app now works within the boundaries of Arch and Locust Streets from Fourth to 20th Streets, the PPA reported. Anyone who had used the previous iteration of meterUP from the PPA needs to delete that app and install the new one to use the system, PPA officials said.

The app is being managed by Parkmobile LLC, which will charge users 40 cents per transaction, more than the one-cent transaction fee the PPA’s earlier attempt at a parking app charged. The sales pitch is that the additional cost will come with improved reliability.

Philadelphia’s first parking app, operated by Pango, collapsed in April after the one-cent fee proved to be insufficient to cover the costs of operations. About 20,000 people had signed up for it.

Parkmobile, an Atlanta-based company that had been an unsuccessful bidder for the Philadelphia parking app previously, has accounts to provide pay-by-phone parking in New York City, Denver, Dallas, Washington, and Miami. Parkmobile received the contract to manage the app in August.

Customers can set up an account through us.parkmobile.com, by downloading the app through iOS and Android, or by calling 877-727-5303. Users must pay for parking through the app, though.