Students at the University of Illinois can now use their smart phone to pay for parking at campus meters.
The new Pay By Phone system is up and running at the university’s main campus and according to the Daily Illini could see rollouts to off-campus locations in Champaign and Urbana as well.
Pay By Phone dates back to 2010 when the system was tested using 200 campus parking meters. The app enables students to load a parking meter using their mobile device with funds from their parking account for an extended period of time.
More convenient is the app’s ability to alert students when their meter is running low, enabling them to automatically feed the meter from their current location, rather than return to the meter itself. This is not only a convenience to the student, but can cut down on over-feeding a meter as well.
Pay By Phone offers students an alternative to Cash Key, a key fob that acts as a debit card. Cash Keys were have been in use at the Champaign, Urbana and Campus parking departments since 2001, and though the technology is still functional, Pay by Phone technology eliminates the need for students to physically report to the parking offices to add money to their account.
With the early success of the app, the university’s campus parking authority is now emphasizing the use of the Pay By Phone option. With 11,000 Pay By Phone transactions per month, university officials believe that students and visitors have grown accustomed to the service and are comfortable using the technology.
Pay By Phone is now available for 1,800 out of the 2,100 metered parking spots on Illinois’ campus. The remaining 300 spots are primarily short-term parking locations and thus will most likely not offer Pay By Phone technology, as the app is intended for longer-term parking.
Pay By Phone payments are billed by the hour, meaning a student wishing to park for an hour and a half would have to pay for a full two hours if they wanted to use their mobile device. This, along with a 30-cent transaction fee, could be a consideration for some.