Paying for street parking in New York City just got so much easier. Instead of searching for loose change or hoping you didn't forget your wallet, you can use a device you always have with you: your phone.
This change comes courtesy of Park NYC, a new initiative from the Department of Transportation that lets you pay for parking from your phone. It was previously only available in certain parts of the city, but that's recently changed. Queens was just equipped with the service, so now people in all five boroughs can finally take advantage of Park NYC.
Park NYC has been conveniently rolled out to all 85,000 metered spots throughout New York City, meaning that you can use this service no matter where you are. Accessible via the app of the same name or through your mobile browser, the service is fairly easy to use. Users just have to fill out their account information, input where they parked, and determine how much time they want to pay for.
You can connect one debit or credit card to the app, so the app's wallet automatically reloads when you start to run out of money. As opposed to uploading a customized amount, you're required to upload money in increments of at least $25. There's also no discount for using the app, meaning that meter rates are the same regardless of whether you pay in cash or via Park NYC.
Since there's no ticket to print out and display on your dashboard, you may be thinking that there's no way traffic enforcement agents will know if you paid or not. Before you get too excited, know that your account is linked with your registered license plate number. Traffic enforcement agents can check to see if you've paid through their devices. If you've failed to input enough money and your meter runs out, they can — and likely will — issue you a ticket.
For tourists driving rental cars, you too can take advantage of Park NYC. The set-up is the same as if you were a resident of NYC. Note that, however, you must still load your account with at least $25, so if you intend on spending less than that it may be worth it to just use cash.
The service is still fairly new, and it's not without its bugs. While the site reports that you're able to renew your parking from your phone to prevent the meter from running out, users have reported that the app doesn't let you. It apparently incorrectly claims that parking is free or that its unnecessary to input money, thus putting you at risk of getting a ticket. Moreover, it doesn't always recognize parking zones, making it impossible to use the app in certain parts of the city.
Park NYC still needs to be worked on before I'll be willing to use it, but try it out for yourself if you're curious. It's free to get, so anyone who wants it can access it. The Park NYC app is available for both iOS and Android and works throughout the entire city. If you have a Blackberry or Windows device, you'll have to access the service through your mobile browser.