Photo by the author.

I just had a great parking experience in downtown DC.  Yes, re-read that sentence — it’s legit.  So is the Pay By Phone parking system.  No more scouring the house and the car for parking meter change.  No more jamming in a handful of coins when late for a meeting.  And no more setting phone alarms to remind me when my time is up.

The pay by phone system is damn easy. I set it up with a short phone call and paid for my 2 hours of parking in the same time it took the woman who parked just after me to find her change and put it in the meter.  Granted, she had to go back to her car and root around the backseat to get the $4 in change, but that’s half the hassle gone.

The brilliant move: sending me a text message when my meter is about to expire so I don’t get caught by the enforcement officers.  The annoying aspect is that your meter doesn’t show time. It says “Expired” even after you pay.  This is confusing, but Pay By Phone promises that the DC parking enforcement will know you’ve paid.  Sadly, the next person who might get a free ride from your meter payment will not.

Verrus, the pay by phone operator, sent me a tweet in response to a question about the meter showing payment. Talk about customer service!

@wayan_vota your license plate and time are automatically displayed on a handheld device used by the parking enforcement officer.


This is a great advancement in parking science on our very own streets.