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New York City drivers will now be able to pay for parking meters via phone

One of the last remaining vestiges of pre-mobile payment times is finally joining the 21st century — the much dreaded parking meter, a ubiquitous sight along New York City streets, is finally letting you pay via your smartphone. Because let’s be honest, no one carries change around anymore. On Wednesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all 85,000 metered parking spaces would accept mobile payments by year’s end. And not only will drivers have a high-tech way of feeding the meter, the New York Police Department will also have some pretty sophisticated monitoring techniques — equipped with new tablet devices, Traffic Enforcement Agents will be able to “immediately determine whether a parked car is paid up.”

Under the new system, drivers will download an app and provide credit card and license plate information — then, they’ll just have to input the meter number in order to pay. You’ll be able to pay from anywhere at any time, allowing for a lot more flexibility in parking, and more precision in the amount of time paid for.

“No more fumbling for change or scrambling to the meter to beat a ticket. This is a 21st century upgrade that is going to make parking a lot more convenient,” de Blasio said. Officials expect that the new payment option will make for far more efficient parking options, and by extension, happier New York drivers.

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“Pay-by-cell offers New York drivers greater customer convenience and quality of life,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. She also pointed out that the mobile payment platform will allow “motorists to pay for only the time they use.”

New York City Council Member and Chair of the Committee on Transportation Ydanis Rodriguez, who has long been a proponent of expanding mobile payments for parking meters, applauded the announcement. “With the leadership of Mayor Bill de Blasio, we are moving to modernize our aging parking system, providing New Yorkers with the convenience to keep up with their fast-paced lives,” Rodriguez said. “Upgrading these systems will keep New Yorkers moving with a quick swipe or flash of the phone. Moving forward, we should continue our innovative approach to parking by incorporating new technologies, like payment apps, to further our status as a global leader in civic-tech.”