Where Are They Now?: Pay-By-Phone Parking Edition

Program put on hold since 2007

By Matt Bartosik
|  Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010  |  Updated 5:58 AM CDT
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Ah, those were the good ol' days.

Remember back in 2007 when we were still putting quarters in meters and, depending on where we were in the city, we could get a whole hour out of that 25 cents?

Those days of course are long gone, but the little ParkMagic devices that City Hall debuted that year are still around.

A little over two years ago, City Hall sold about 700 I-Pass-like devices that allowed Chicagoans to pay for parking by phone. For $15 a piece, drivers could place a small square device in their windshield and use it at any parking meter in the city. Customers called a phone number and typed in the zone of their meter and how long they planned on staying there. The appropriate fee came out of their deposit, and the expiration time was displayed on the screen.

But where are they now?

The tiny devices are still around and fully functional, according to the Sun-Times. But the program was never further developed, and parking meters have a new owner now, with more expensive tastes.

While Chicago Parking Meters, LLC, is considering the program, says a spokesperson, there is not yet any news on when (or if) more drivers can join.

In the meantime, you'll just have to deal with frozen or broken payboxes.

Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign.

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