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City of Columbus Announces a New Way to Pay for Parking

May 02, 2022

City of Columbus Announces a New Way to Pay for Parking

Implementation of kiosks begins in early May



Starting in May, the City of Columbus will begin replacing parking meters with new pay-by-plate kiosks to modernize and streamline the payment process for customers. Mobile payment using the ParkColumbus app will continue to be a convenient option.

The Division of Parking Services will begin meter removal on May 3 in the Brewery District, then move north through downtown Columbus, the Short North Arts District and the University District as kiosks are installed. By the end of May, mobile payment and the new pay-by-plate kiosks will completely replace meter payment, except for a limited number of handicapped-accessible meters and 30-minute meters to support brief parking for use such as pickup and drop-off.

“The City of Columbus continues to enhance the customer experience for on-street parking by adding greater convenience with better technology tools,” said Jennifer L. Gallagher, Director of the Department of Public Service. “A modernized system supports equitable access and turnover as our city—and curb lane demand—keep growing.”

ParkColumbus will provide functionality updates to the app for smartphone users as well as additional mobile payment methods for those without a smartphone, including scan-to-pay, text-to-pay and call-to-pay options.

When customers don’t have a phone handy, the new kiosks from Flowbird Urban Intelligence offer a simpler way to pay than meters. After parking, customers can identify their mobile pay zone using street signs where they parked, walk to the nearest kiosk, enter their license plate number and pay using a credit or debit card or coins. They may even add time to their parking spot when using the new kiosks in the Downtown, Brewery, Short North and University Districts.

The new parking system makes customers’ lives easier by opening up more parking spaces and simplifying parking zone numbers. Existing zones will be consolidated into fewer larger parking zones, making it easier to identify zone numbers.

“For the City of Columbus, streamlining parking payment will require less maintenance, greater efficiency, and enable quick and accurate license plate recognition (LRP) enforcement to encourage access and turnover,” said Robert Ferrin, Assistant Director of Parking Services.

“Flowbird is proud to have been selected to launch our smart parking system in a city that truly embraces smart technology,” said Sean Renn, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Flowbird. “We look forward to a long partnership that benefits everyone who lives, works and visits the City of Columbus.”

For the 30-minute meters remaining in the city’s parking districts, the Short North rate will change to $1.50 per hour (75 cents for 30 minutes), to align with all other districts’ 30-minute rate. With the kiosks, no changes are occurring in parking rates, time limits or hours of enforcement.

To help transition to the new parking system, Parking Services will deploy street teams at events like the Pearl Market downtown, the Short North Gallery Hop and more to assist with parking and guiding customers through the new payment process. Residents are also encouraged to follow the Department of Public Service on social media for updates on what’s happening in their district and for relevant parking tips.

View a video here for a demonstration on how to use the new kiosks.

For those who have not yet downloaded the ParkColumbus app, there has never been a better time to go mobile. To learn how to use the app, click here.