Alexandria introduces pay-by-phone parking

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WJLA) - Starting next week, you can pay for parking in Alexandria with your smartphone.

"This is just one more option to make it easier for visitors to park," said Sandra Marks, Alexandria's Transportation Planning Division chief.

To get started, you'll need to create an account through Pango.

"You can either go to the city's website... or you can go to the App Store and type in Pango and download the app," said Marks.

Your parking session first requires typing in the posted zone numbers.

"These are located on a number of signs adjacent to where you're parked," said Marks.

By going this route, you can skip a visit to the pay station. You can also stop the session manually and be charged only for the time parked.

Users can expect to add on a 29-cent convenience fee. D.C.'s Parkmobile charges 45 cents; Montgomery County's Park Now is 35 cents.

Alexandria officials say adding this feature won't cost the city any money.

"It's fairly seamless," said Marks.

And it's a tool that many area residents are already familiar with.

"Everything I do is at the touch of my fingertip... iPhones have taken over," said Nathan Fulford, who works in Alexandria.

Meanwhile, others wonder if parking enforcement will get tougher since workers will have devices synced with the payment program.

"The parking enforcement people know exactly when your time is up and they'll run to your car to give you a ticket, " said Alexandria visitor Ricki Green.

The app will officially go live to the public next week. When it launches, the first 5,000 users will receive two hours of free parking. The convenience fee will also be waived for all users through March 1, 2014.

If you don't have a smartphone, you can start parking sessions by going through the toll-free number (855)-547-2646.