Earlier this month, Mayor Joe Curtatone announced that Somerville was teaming up with Parkmobile to introduce an app far more useful than Facebook and far less annoying than Foursquare: a parking app that would let drivers forego quarters and pay by their phone on meters throughout the city.
“This is a huge benefit to residents, visitors and our business community, bringing the convenience of different payment options that’s already available at multi-space and credit card-accepting meters to every meter in the city through Parkmobile,” Curtatone said in a statement at the time. “For people running errands, shopping in our stores, eating in our restaurants and more, it means the end of hoarding quarters in your cup holder, trying to find a place near the meter to break a $1 bill, or rushing out mid-meal to feed the meter. For our businesses, it means that it will be even more convenient for people to visit their stores, offices and restaurants.”
The app was scheduled to debut in Somerville the week of November 24, and in what could potentially be considered a Thanksgiving miracle, the project stayed on track and launched earlier this week. You no longer have to get on the bad side of every small business owner in the city when you run in to hassle them for quarters, because Somerville just became the first city in the Boston metro area that offers pay-by-phone parking.
Parkmobile does tack an additional 50-cent charge onto parking fees, and there is a minimum $1 rate per space, so if you have some spare change rattling around in your pockets you may be better off paying the traditional way. Still, Parkmobile (available in the app store) seems poised to make driving around Somerville way, way more convenient.
Now, if only I could get my landlord to develop a pay-by-phone app for our washer and dryer…