Parkmobile provides FOX 5 with tips to avoid getting DC parking - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Parkmobile provides FOX 5 with tips to avoid getting DC parking tickets

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WASHINGTON -

Drivers in Washington, D.C. use the Parkmobile app on their smartphones to make it easy to pay the meters and avoid parking tickets. However, many people -- myself included -- have found those telltale pink slips on their cars even though they paid with the app.

“Their Park Mobile system is the worst! I often get tickets on my car even after paying by phone,” wrote “MsKshka IMnr” on our Facebook page. “And a pain in the butt to fight. They told me they had my zone number but couldn't prove I was in that particular parking space.”

“I have received numerous tickets for failing to display parking receipt despite me using @Parkmobile as recent as 7/19,” Chekesha Rashad tweeted, using the hashtag #crazy.

On Friday, I spoke with an executive at Parkmobile about the problem and how to avoid getting parking tickets.

I parked on Water Street in Georgetown in May for an hour exercise class. I paid for two hours in the zone. When I got back to my car, I had a parking ticket. I took a screen grab of the Parkmobile app, which showed I still had 23 minutes left.

I went to the DMV to fight the ticket. The hearing examiner refused to look at my phone because there’s a “no cell phones” rule in the rooms. He made me come back a second time with the screen grab printed out on paper. Then I got a card in the mail that said my ticket had been dismissed.

Both residents and tourists have realized that paying with the app is the best way to deal with street parking. In fact, 56 percent of all parking in the District now goes through the Parkmobile app. That comes to 600,000 transactions each month. Washington is the biggest client for the parking technology company -- with 750,000 active users in the area.

“We want to make parking as easy and seamless as possible,” Laurens Eckelboom, the executive vice president of business development of Atlanta-based Parkmobile told me in an interview.

“If you park with Parkmobile, the chance of erroneous citations is infinitely smaller than if you don’t use the app,” said Eckelboom. “But every erroneous citation is one too many, and we are doing everything we can to keep the system accurate and up to date.”

Eckelboom explained that most incorrect parking tickets related to the Parkmobile app are caused by accidental user failure.

To register, a user provides a license plate and credit card. Then, the driver parks and puts the zone number and length of parking into the app. There is a service fee for each use.

The meter maids are supposed to check the Parkmobile database for the current information from their handheld wireless units.

But, somehow, this system can still break down.

Parkmobile provides several helpful tips to avoid parking tickets.

1. Register the correct license plate -- Make sure you put the correct letters and numbers. The most common error is to switch the “O” letter with a zero.

2. Click on the license plate for the car you are driving -- Users can have multiple cars registered to the same account, so it’s important to make sure to use the correct license that is being used.

3. Check the zone code carefully -- these stickers and signs are located on meters and posted on poles along the streets. The zones can change both by block and by side of the street. A common error is to use the zone code from across the other side of the street on which you are parked. Also, there is a GPS function on the app that allows you to look up the code.

4. Watch for parking time limits -- The app will direct you about when it is possible to legally park. For example, it will not allow you to park in zones for longer than generally two hours during the day. It will also stop you from parking in no-stopping periods, such as rush hour. So when the app gives a time limit, adhere to it.

5. Use Parkmobile history to fight unfair parking tickets -- If you have done everything right and still get a parking ticket, Parkmobile provides you with a parking history (by zone and time) and a receipt so you can do mail adjudication with the DMV to appeal the fine.

The DMV did not respond to repeated requests for information on adjudication for tickets that drivers showed the parking was paid by Parkmobile. DMV Administrator Lucinda Babers turned down my request for an interview.

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