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Massachusetts Transport Agency launches mobile parking payments

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The USA based Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has launched a new payment system for parking at commuter rail stations that allows customers to bypass pesky cash deposit boxes and pay instead from their mobile phones. Through the system, called Parkmobile, customers can pay with a smart phone application or by sending a text message or making a call from any cellphone.

Commuters can also pay for parking after boarding their trains.

The new payment system starts 72 car parks along the commuter rail system, which have a total of 25,000 to 30,000 parking spaces.

More than 1,000 people have already signed up to use the new payment program, MBTA General Manager Richard A. Davey said. "Hopefully, we'll have people avoiding this," he said, pointing to the cash deposit box behind him, lined with slots just wide enough for a twice-folded dollar bill."

To use the new mobile payment system, customers have to register once with their license plate, credit card and mobile phone numbers. Then, every time they park, they use their phones to send two more pieces of information: the lot number and the space number in which they parked.

Parkmobile is free for customers, but the company charges more than 30 cents per transaction. Mr. Davey said that fee will be absorbed in the MBTA budget and will not be passed on to customers.

"We don't anticipate raising fares or parking fees at all," Mr. Davey added.

Parkmobile, based in Atlanta, offers its product at public transportation systems in several states, from New York to Michigan to Hawaii. But a company executive said he expects Massachusetts to be one of the best and busiest markets.

"We expect this to be our landmark," said Brent Paxton, executive vice president of account management.

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Tags: boston  mbta  michigan  usa