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Feeding the meter in downtown Iowa City: There’s an app for that

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Stickers on parking meters in downtown Iowa City explain how to use a new app to pay from your phone. — photo by Lauren Shotwell

For those who don’t enjoy carrying around their weight in spare change or interrupting lunch to sprint to an almost-expired meter, Iowa City has a new app that will allow people to use a phone, tablet or any other electronic device to pay for parking.

The PassportParking app (available in the Apple App Store and Android’s Google Play or at ppprk.com) allows users to create an account and enter credit card information and then pay for parking by entering the zone and space number listed on each meter or on a nearby sign. The app can also send an expiration alert, extend the time on the meter remotely, email receipts and keep track of past payments.

The app can be used at more than 2,000 city parking spaces — both at metered on-street parking and in the Chauncey Swan and Harrison Street parking ramps — and at more than 800 University of Iowa spaces.

Although the display on the meter won’t show payments, parking enforcement officers can verify them through the city and university systems.

There is no charge to use the app and app users pay the same amount for parking as individuals using traditional payment methods.

City officials say that, in addition to providing a convenient payment method and an avenue for communicating holiday hours and space closures, the app can help with future planning efforts by providing parking data.

The new app is in addition to the ParkMe app that provides real-time information on parking availability in the downtown Iowa City ramps.


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