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Pay-by-phone parking will cost you 35¢ to never* have to run to feed the meter again (also no more sticker goo)

BPfEDVECQAAeR2NSeattle is finally rolling out pay-by-phone features for its paid street parking system for cars, trucks, vans, scooters and various propulse-d vehicles.

The new service was unveiled Thursday and is now active in “the downtown retail area between 1st and 9th Avenue, Seneca and Stewart Streets,” according to SDOT. The service is expected to be rolled out to Capitol Hill and the remainder of the city by the end of summer.

For $0.35 per transaction, parkers can use the service’s smartphone app or call a toll-free number to pay for parking on Seattle’s streets. You can also set it up to send a message when your time is about to expire. The service eliminates the need to waste time waiting for the often gummed-up pay stations to contact your bank for approval or whatever they’re doing while you stand there and wait for them not to work. It also will eliminate the smudge of stickum and torn paper that collects on frequently parked vehicles’ windows. It’s not all goodness, however — the payments are geography specific so, unlike the pay station stickum receipts, your paid status won’t be portable to other parts of the city.

The biggest win from a convenience factor, of course, is the ability to remotely extend your parking without having to run to the pay station. The service promises to “Extend parking time remotely (if time available) from any phone to avoid tickets.” Sadly, you won’t be able to “feed the meter” and overstay 2 and 4-hour limits and, unless you’ve got an app we don’t, you can’t move your car from afar — so, yeah, some of us will still have to make a meter run from time to time.

The pay-by-phone system is the latest addition to an overhaul of paid parking in Seattle that has happened in recent years starting with introduction of tiered payment zones in different parts of the city based on demand and nighttime paid parking. The next step? If actions in other cities are any indication, Seattle will also implement dynamic pricing based on short-term demand.

More on the pay-by-phone system — and a short movie explaining how it works — below.

Pay by Phone Parking is coming soon

Parking pay by phone is now available as of Thursday July 18, 2013. SDOT started service in the downtown retail area between 1st and 9th Avenue, Seneca and Stewart Streets. Remaining paid parking areas will be rolled out by this fall.

In 2012, SDOT brought onPayByPhone ( after a competitive vendor procurement process. PaybyPhone offers services in many Seattle private lots and garages and in 180 cities in North America and Europe. PayByPhone adds a $0.35 fee per transaction.

How does parking by phone works?

  1. Call 1-888-515-7275, go to paybyphonecom or download the PayByPhone app. Sign up and follow directions to register your cars with a credit card.
  2. After parking, look for the Location Number on a nearby pay by phone parking sign or at the closest pay station on your side of the street. Do not use a Location Number on a different street.
  3. Enter Location Number, choose correct vehicle license plate number, desired length of stay, and confirm your payment.

What Are the Benefits?

  • No need to visit the pay station and return to your car with a receipt
  • Optional text message reminders before your parking time expires
  • Extend parking time remotely (if time available) from any phone to avoid tickets
  • Pay for parking from the comfort and safety of your vehicle
  • View and print parking receipts online through

What do signs look like?
Look for new pay by phone parking signs at every pay station with a unique Location Number. You must use the correct Location Number for the side of the street that you are parked. Parking by phone payment is NOT portable as it is with pay stations.

How does enforcement work?
Nothing changes at the pay station, and you do not need a receipt to display. When you pay by phone, Seattle Police Department Parking Enforcement Officers will see your payment status automatically in real time on their enforcement equipment.

Please note that if your vehicle has a vanity plate, you should register your license plate number as written on your vehicle registration document. Also, debit cards are not accepted.

Where can I pay by phone?
Parking pay by phone will start in commercial retail core between Seneca St, Olive Way, 1st Ave and 9th Ave. Citywide implementation is expected by summer’s end.

While project was originally planned to launch in fall 2012, significant development and testing was required to ensure a smooth and effective integration with current Seattle Police Department equipment.

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14 thoughts on “Pay-by-phone parking will cost you 35¢ to never* have to run to feed the meter again (also no more sticker goo)

    • I know! Thanks to Microsoft, we probably have the highest Windows Phone concentration in the world.

      That they have BlackBerry and not Windows Phone is kinda an insult….

  1. Oh goody! More big, ugly signs. Way to go Seattle! (Yes, I know we need to communicate the info, but these and the other signs are UGLY! Major redesign, rethink needed.) At one time we were a tree city. Now we’re a sign city. Looking for my exit.

    • Yeah, they dont have street signs in other cities, it’s just beautiful nirvana everywhere else (no pun intended). Dipshit.

      • I know not everyone will agree with me. That’s ok. I understand. But really, do you ever stop and see how many signs we have? Why do we have so many? Why does every solution be about a sign? Why do they have to be so large? Couldn’t small sign work? Do people need to see these directions from 25 feet away? These are all serious questions. We’re never going to eliminate signs but we as citizens should demand that our signs be reasonably sized, well-designed, and not so much clutter. Everything is trying to claim there space and out shout everyone else. Most people take pride in their appearance and we should take pride in our city’s appearance as well and find the right balance. I’m all for the system and for the communicative needs but really, why add another sign when perhaps modifying the existing ones might work better.

      • Well, I can’t speak for all signs, but most signs that have to do with roads/bikes/cars are based on national standards that have had multitudes of tests done to determine colors/shapes/size/etc.

        Signs are a sign (heh) of civilization and are meant for civilizations to operate smoothly. If you go out to Pend Oreille County in Eastern Washington, you’ll see barely any signs. If you go to New York City, you’ll see tons of signs. Compare the two and you’ll see what the purpose of signs are.

      • You’re right. There are standards, they are the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the MUTCD. But these type signs are not addressed in the MUTCD and there is a lot of leeway. My first comments were abrupt and off the cuff and not necessarily constructive.

    • Big? Did you look at the picture above? It looks like they made it as small as possible, much smaller than the paid-parking zone sign itself. Perhaps eventually they will incorporate the two into a single sign.

    • Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
      Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
      Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

  2. It seems that with absolutely no paper trail, if the system is fouled up and your vehicle is ticketed, you’re screwed. Also, does usage data go straight into PRISM to keep America safe?

    No, thanks. I’ll stick with a roll of quarters in the center console.

    • They use cameras to log your driving history, Phil. I’m afraid it’s not that easy to get off the surveillance web.

  3. Great idea I love it. Just so the data gets to the parking police. And the system has a good record of the parked location to prove the parking was paid.
    Also if theirs a problem with a ticket and you have a valid paid by phone record
    Their a way to Handel it by email.
    The goodtogo pass I have only seams to work some times
    And I get a bill in the mail and you can never get any one. On the
    Phone to help . Seam to end up paying the full price.
    Hope the customer service is set up better than that.