Technology has overtaken the parking lot. Starting Nov. 1, Coral Gables will be upgrading from its old parking payment system to a newer PayByPhone technology for 4,200 parking spaces throughout the city.
“The new system is a more suitable way to pay for parking, it is used by a number of cities in our region and provides more services and options for our customers than our existing system,” wrote Maria Rosa Higgins Fallon, public affairs manager for the City of Coral Gables, in an email.
The city initially implemented PayByPhone in 2005, and will upgrade the system to allow access via any smartphone.
The original electronic system required users to pay a monthly fee or hang a tag in their car. Now, you just open the app, enter the space number, select how long you want to park and press enter.
For the less tech-savvy, old-school options remain.
Coin payments will remain available in all metered spaces, and many of the city’s metered parking spaces still accept credit cards, according to Higgins Fallon.
Other cities that have implemented this system include Miami, South Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
A selling point: If you get busy at, say, a musical at Actors’ Playhouse, or run into old friends while having a bite on Miracle Mile, there’s an alternative to rushing back to the meter and carrying pocket-stretching spare change. Hit the app and add more time without having to dash madly to the meter.
“This will help customers avoid parking tickets by providing a method of paying if they have no change for the meters. In addition, you can receive a text alert letting you know when your meter is about to expire,” Higgins Fallon wrote in her email.
Users can continue using the old phone system through Nov. 10, after which they will need to switch the new app.