Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett today announced that cell phones can now be used to pay for parking at 5,250 County parking meters in Bethesda. By summer, the program will be expanded to include meters in Silver Spring, Wheaton, Montgomery Hills and North Bethesda – for a total of 11,000 parking meters.
“The ‘pay-by-cell’ program is simple and user friendly, making it even more convenient to park at County garages, lots and on-street meters,” said Leggett. “I commend the Department of Transportation for their ongoing efforts to integrate advances in technology – at no extra cost to the County – that improve ease of use and quality of life for residents.”
To use pay-by-cell, first-time patrons register for the program once by going online anytime to www.mc.goparknow.com or calling 301-830-7074. Parkers set up an account and indicate which credit card will be used for the parking charges. The step-by-step instructions, printed on each meter, direct parkers to:
• Use a cell phone to call 301-830-7074.
• Or, send a text message to 32075.
• Follow the phone/text prompts to enter the meter location number (located on the meter decal).
• Select the amount of time desired for parking.
The patron then receives voice and text messages confirming the start of the parking session. A 35-cent transaction fee will be charged in addition to the parking fee.
“Pay-by-Cell will make it easier for our citizens to enjoy Bethesda and other areas of our County,” said Montgomery County Council Vice President Roger Berliner. “You will no longer have to worry about getting a ticket because now you can simply phone it in. Resident-friendly improvements like this make Montgomery County an even better place to live and enjoy.”
The new parking system provides many conveniences to parkers. Those who use pay-by-cell will get a text message reminder that their parking time is about to expire. Patrons can extend parking time remotely and view transactions online. Parkers can stop a parking session upon returning to a vehicle, so they only pay for the parking time they have used.
In January 2010, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation Division of Parking successfully tested a pay-by-cell phone system at 1,250 parking meters in Bethesda. Customer feedback was very positive about the program. Since the pilot began, 11,500 customers registered to participate in the program and used their cell phones for about 110,000 parking sessions.
MobileNOW! LLC is the County’s contractor for the pay-by-cell program and a tenant of the Rockville Innovation Center, part of the Montgomery County Business Innovation Network. Operating under the County’s Department of Economic Development, the network helps small and emerging technology, biotech, pharmaceutical and professional services firms succeed by offering turnkey office and/or wet lab space, fully integrated conference rooms and key resource and support services. In addition to Rockville, the network includes four other centers -- Shady Grove, downtown Silver Spring, Wheaton and the Germantown campus of Montgomery College.
“We are honored that Montgomery County has partnered with MobileNOW! to extend the pay-by-cell parking service to its facilities,” said Krista Tassa, president of MobileNOW! “Our ParkNOW! system is the most advanced pay-by-cell system in the world, and we have years of experience providing this service to users worldwide. The pilot program in Bethesda proved that the system has high adoption rates in the County. We look forward to continuing our work with County officials and adding new features that would give County residents and visitors the latest technology and most convenient way to pay for parking.”
For more information on the pay-by-cell initiative, or to register for an account, go to the Division of Parking’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcdot.
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