We've all been there: an appointment downtown lasts longer than you were expecting. Your only options are to duck out early to feed the parking meter, or stay and pay the price in the form of a ticket.
Starting this month, there's a third option. Drivers can use the City of Tampa's new pay-by-phone system to pay for parking from anywhere.
No more digging for change in your car's cupholder. No more urging restaurant servers to hurry up with that check so you can dash back to your car. With the new Parkmobile system, you can pay for parking via smart phone, cell phone or website using a credit card or PayPal account. Drivers can also opt to receive an alert 15 minutes before their parking session expires, and then add more time remotely.
For now, Parkmobile is available in Tampa's surface lots only, not in garages. Traditional payment options are still available.
"This is one more step we are taking to make Tampa a more tech-savvy, accessible city," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in a written statement. The city of St. Petersburg already offers Parkmobile.
Now for the fine print: There's a $0.35 "convenience fee" for each transaction. It will be waived in Tampa until Sept. 30.
Download the free app at parkmobile.com.