Philly preparing for leap into 21st century parking technology

 A man buys parking time at a kiosk on Filbert Street. (Emma Lee/for NewsWorks)

A man buys parking time at a kiosk on Filbert Street. (Emma Lee/for NewsWorks)

Philadelphia might be a historical city, but as one of the last major metropolitan areas in the country to get on board with mobile-parking payment, apparently it’s old-fashioned as well.

That could change very soon.


On Thursday, the city’s Parking Authority released a “request for proposal” statement on its website – a two-month window in which mobile payment companies can submit a bid to run a system allowing you to pay for parking with a smartphone app.

The winning company will be selected at the end of April, begin a six-month trial period at the beginning of June, and potentially roll out a citywide system by the end of the year.

John Oglesby is the CEO of MobileNow, which runs a mobile-pay parking program in Camden and is the largest mobile-pay operator in Pennsylvania. His company will be submitting a proposal to run Philly’s 15,000 potential parking spots very soon.

“I think you can look forward to a spirited bidding process,” said Oglesby. “Philly is a great parking city, so I think you can count on a lot of interest from [companies] all over the U.S. and probably a couple of international players as well.”

In Camden, MobileNow lets drivers sign on and enter the number of their parking spot, then pay for it with a service like Google Wallet or PayPal. The parking attendant uses a wireless system to check for payment.

Drivers can also reserve parking spots from their computer, or call a free mobile number and pay over the phone, according to the MobileNow website.

The PPA requires the vendor to bear all costs of installing and maintaining the service, but Oglesby expects at least six other companies to submit a proposal.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority did not respond to a request for a comment.

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