Fort Worth Parking to Use Solar-Powered Parking Stations

Similar systems in use in Austin, San Antonio

By Chris Van Horne
|  Monday, Jan 30, 2012  |  Updated 5:18 PM CDT
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Eighty solar-powered, pay-to-park stations in downtown Fort Worth will accept debit or credit cards as well as coins.

Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 News

Eighty solar-powered, pay-to-park stations in downtown Fort Worth will accept debit or credit cards as well as coins.

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Fort Worth has joined a number of Texas cities offering high-tech ways to pay for parking.

Officials say the last of about 80 solar-powered pay stations are being installed this week in downtown Fort Worth.

The devices, which accept debit or credit cards as well as coins, are meant to handle about 600 high-volume parking spaces.

"It was very important for us to get as many people as possible into this area to come and do their business or entertainment needs," said Fort Worth Parking Manager Peter Elliott. "One of the issues was, you had to pay by coin and have a pocket full of coins."

The pay station prints a receipt in the form of a sticker that should be placed on the passenger side of the windshield.

Parking ambassadors have been hired to help people adjust to the new machines and figure out where they're supposed to put their receipts.

Drivers may like the 'if you move, you won't lose' option with the new pay to park system.

"If you pay in one place and you have extra time on your receipt, you can go somewhere else and use that time," said Elliott.

Some downtown visitors NBC 5 talked to Monday were confused by the new system, while others said they would still pay with change.

"I don't think I want to use a credit card, I'll just bring coins and put coins in," said Chante Prox. "It's new but I think I can get adjusted to it."

The Fort Worth City Council last month approved an $882,000 contract with Parkeon, with an option for 30 more units.

Fort Worth joins cities such as San Antonio and Austin in using solar-powered parking-related devices.

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