March 10, 2014

Mayor Emanuel Announces Pay-By-Cell Program for Parking in Metered Areas to Begin This Spring

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Motorists will soon have a state-of-the-art mobile payment option for parking in metered areas throughout Chicago. The new pay-by-cell program will be introduced as part of a pilot program in a downtown area this spring, and then rolled out throughout the City.

"Drivers can stop looking for cash or credit or debit cards if they choose this option. They can simply enter their meter number and amount of time into a smart phone application," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "You'll know how much time you have left, and will reload if you want. No more walking back to the meter. This is as convenient as it gets."

This new pay-by-cell technology will offer a number of time-saving conveniences:

  • Drivers will no longer have to make payments at the meter boxes if they choose. (Meter boxes will remain in place throughout the City, providing motorists with multiple options to pay).
  • Printed receipts will no longer need to be placed on dashboards.
  • Drivers will no longer have to return to their car to increase their time allotment.

Motorists who purchase parking for two hours or more will pay no additional fees. Those paying for less than two hours will pay a 35-cent convenience fee, which is comparable to or less than similar fees in other cities.

The cashless option allows users to use the app to pay via credit or debit card. The system, available to iPhone and Android users, will also send users text message reminders 10 minutes prior to the expiration of their parking session, and allow them to pay for more time remotely.

The pay-by-cell option is part of the Mayor's renegotiated 75-year parking meter contract between the City and Chicago Parking Meters, which was approved by City Council on June 5, 2013.

The revised contract also includes free Sunday parking outside of the Central Business District. The City will also save approximately $1 billion over the life of the parking meter concession by the reduction of an annual payment connected with changes to the City's parking meter system.

Earlier this week, Mayor Emanuel announced that motorists and the City have saved about $2.1 million in the last six months of 2013 under the revised contract.