Having seen mobile parking payment apps pop up in nearby communities, Wellesley residents and visitors have been begging for one here, too, and now they have it.
The town had planned to roll out its Passport Pay-By-Phone mobile app for iPhones and Android devices next week, but got a head start in Wellesley Square this week thanks to the unseasonably warm weather, says Wellesley Deputy Director Terry Connolly. Warm temps are needed to apply decals to meters, marking them as eligible for Passport.
Connolly says the plan is for Passport — being marketed as “an additional payment option” — to be fully implemented within the next week. The app can be used for on-street meters as well as for commuter and business parking lots. You’ll still be able to feed coins to meters, though some envision a day when the hardware disappears and there will become fewer places to hang lost hats and mittens.
The app’s features include alerting you when you’re about to run out of time on a meter and defying the laws of physics by letting you extend parking time remotely.
I downloaded the app to my iPhone and found it simple enough to navigate, though had the usual nervousness about putting personal info such as my license plate number and payment card info into the app. When I first tested the app out after parking hours, it was smart enough to not allow me to pay for parking at that time.
I tried it out again this morning, parking temporarily in front of the Gap in Wellesley Square, just to see how Passport worked. In looking at the label on the parking meter I saw that I was in Zone 2323 and plugged that number into the app. I then got to a screen on which the app laid out what my charges would be, but then I cut out since I was only staying there long enough to record the video above. Thus, my years-long record of not paying for parking in Wellesley remained intact.
Be warned that while the app is free to download and register with, you will get hit with transaction/”convenience” fees for using it. Ticketmaster would be proud: On top of a $1 charge for 2 hours of parking at a meter, you’ll pay 30 cents in fees.
All-in-all, still a relative bargain when you consider the sorts of parking prices being charged elsewhere, such as in Boston, where high-demand spaces will demand fees of up to $4 an hour under a pilot program.
(Hat tip to Swellesley Jr. for manning the camera on the video.)