More payment options for drivers parking downtown

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COLUMBIA - Drivers heading downtown can leave their coins behind. 

Earlier this month, the City Council decided to expand an electronic parking payment app to downtown meters. Over the past few weeks, public works has doubled the number of parking spaces that use the app.

Drivers using with Parkmobile app will pay for the time their car is in the space and a 45-cent user fee. 

Barry Dalton, public information officer for Columbia Public Works, said, over the next three years, the agency is going to replace about 1,450 old and deteriorating meters. Drivers will have the option to use coins, a pre-paid card or the app.

Dalton said the app is designed to help people who don't have coins or credit cards. The new meters will not have credit cards slots, like some of the meters have now. But Dalton said drivers can use credit cards to fill their Parkmobile app

Dalton said Public Works has received a positive response about the app.

"There was a pilot program from August 2015 to May 2016 with over 15,200 transactions and there's currently about 512 stations or meters that currently you can use the mobile app and we have gotten positive feedback from them," Dalton said.

But not everyone is excited about it. MU student Claire Richardson said she would prefer to use coins.

"If I'm running late to class and I don't have time to be on my phone putting something in an app and I have coins sitting on my dashboard, I'm going to want to grab those and put them in a meter," Richardson said, "I would definitely prefer using coins just because it's what I'm used to." 

By the end of this year, Dalton said, even before the meters are replaced, they will have a sticker on them saying the app will also work as another option.