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Richmonders say new app brings 'convenience factor' to city parking

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -- The City of Richmond has launched a new app that will allow people to use their smartphones to pay for parking.

The city announced Tuesday that it is launching PassportParking -- the first mobile payment option offered by the city. 

Chuck Skelding works in downtown Richmond and says he's used parking payment services like this before in other cities.

He says he will use PassportParking in Richmond due to its ease.

"The convenience factor -- you can be inside a business or somewhere you're at, you don't have to run back out [outside]," said Skelding. "You can just go to your phone and add [more time] in."

In a release, the city said it is upgrading its parking operations to 'keep up with the demand of tourists and its residents in high-traffic downtown areas.'

"The PassportParking® app will offer our residents and guests flexibility and convenience here in our city,” Mayor Levar Stoney said in a release. “This technology aligns with our transportation initiatives and will allow people the freedom spend more time enjoying Richmond’s great restaurants, shops and businesses and less time worrying about the meter.”

Here's how it works:

-Users can download the app then set up an account and get a four-digit pin number.
-Signs indicating parking zones have been placed throughout parking areas.
-Motorists enter the zone, their car and the length of time they are parking and the payment method.
-Once the system confirms the transaction, the parking session begins.

VIDEO: Amy Simpson breaks down how to use the new app

The app is available for more than 1,500 on-street parking spaces primarily in the downtown area. The city has 567 single-space meters and 191 pay stations.

Traditional payment methods are still available for those who choose to use them, but the PassportParking app is a convenient alternative.

Melissa Clare now lives in Henrico, but is originally from New York City. She tells 8News parking can be tough in any city -- including Richmond.

"Its very difficult to park downtown," said Clare. "The lots are very expensive and the on the street parking is two hours here and there."

Clare downloaded the new parking payment app on Wednesday as she spoke with 8News.

"I think [the app] is a very good idea especially with the cold weather," said Clare. "You can do it from your phone and you don't have to worry about fussing about on the meter."

The app enables parkers to monitor and extend parking sessions remotely, sends alerts and notifications about parking sessions, provides payment history and e-mails receipts at the end of each parking session.

The app is free to download through the App Store or Google Play. Users also can manage their parking at ppprk.com.

In the Commonwealth, the app is also accessible in Virginia Beach, Lynchburg, the College of William & Mary and at Northern Virginia Community College.

For more information on city services, visit Richmondgov.com. To request service, visit RVA311.com. ###

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