Fort Worth Launching Smart Phone App for Parking Payments

Throughout the city of Fort Worth, and especially downtown, there are plenty of options for how to park your car, be it in private surface lots, garages or on-street parking.

It was just a few years ago that a handful of change wasn't always necessary to park in Fort Worth.

Four years ago, credit card machines and parking stickers were introduced in 700 high-traffic spots across the city.

But now, there's another way to pay for parking and all you need is your smart phone.

Whether you're a frequent downtown visitor or just there every so often, parking on the street in downtown is a bit of a science.

"It's a hassle," said Crystal Jones. "You just maybe have to drive a couple of times around the block to find that spot on the street."

Jones knows where to look for a good spot, so does Gino Moreno.

"I do know all the good spots, I come here so often," Moreno said.

But paying for that parking, that's a matter of preference.

"It's the easiest," Jones said of using the credit card machines and stickers. "You can put to your max time, $2.50, and be there a good two to three hours."

Moreno says he's more old school.

"It's far more convenient to just roll up to my parking spot, throw some money in and be finished," he said.

But thanks to the prevalence of smart phones, there's another convenient way, the all-new FW Park app.

"It makes sense to have that mobile payment option," said Peter Elliott, Fort Worth's parking manager.

The parking app works at all of the city's 2,700 on-street parking spot and the surface lot across from city hall. You sign up with an e-mail and your license plate number. Then, program in a credit card, then find and enter the parking zone. And lastly, choose how much time you want to park.

"If you're in a meeting and you're running late or you're in a line at the bank or something is happening and you need more time, you can actually do that by your phone," Elliott said.

You can add time to your meter as long as you don't exceed the time limit in the parking zone, which varies from 30 seconds to 10 hours.

"Way easier," Jones said, once informed. "Way, way easier."

Jones may be sold, but Moreno says he'll stick with his coins.

"It's not for me," he said.

There is a 35-cent convenience fee on top of the parking fee.

Another big question is enforcement of parking zones. Meters, of course, blink "expired" once the money runs out. The stickers are checked by compliance officers to see if they've expired before writing a ticket.

For those parked with the app, compliance officers will run the license plate through the app on their phones to see if they have or have not paid.

The parking app is operating, but will officially debut on Wednesday at 10 a.m. in General Worth Square downtown.

More, larger signs will also be installed in each parking zone with the parking zone number.

All individual machines, coin or credit card, will be marked, as well.

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