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December 19. 2012 2:04AM

Dover offers new electronic parking payment system


The EasyPark electronic parking information and payment system allows drivers to be charged by the minute, rather than the hour, while parking in downtown Dover. (Courtesy)

DOVER - As of Tuesday, drivers could stow their coins and bills as the city rolled out its new electronic, user-operated parking meter which charges by the minute.

Dozens of area residents stopped by the city's parking office - at the police station - and picked up an EasyPark meter for $19.95, which includes $10 in free parking as an incentive to join the program, according to Parking Manager Bill Simons.

"They can use it the second they walk out of the office," Simons said, adding the drivers switch on the meter, which can be used in place of the current receipt-based system.

Once an account is created, Simons said the palm-sized meter, which is not affiliated with the state's E-ZPass toll system, can be used while displayed on the door or the dashboard of a vehicle within a metered zone or parking lot in the city's downtown.

Simons said the users will benefit from the system as they get charged by the minute, instead of the hour. He added this convenience takes the guesswork out of parking in the downtown. Additionally, Simons said the system can be used before the meters start charging - between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. - but the meter will automatically switch on or off, depending on the time of day.

EasyPark will not charge for parking on weekends or holidays. Simons said city plans to allow monthly business and resident parking permits to be included on a device. All drivers can still take advantage of the city's short visit exception policy for on-street spaces as long as vehicles are moved within 15 minutes, the system is activated or a receipt is present, according to Simons.

Nonetheless, during the week, vehicles can only remain in a parking spot for a maximum of three hours, per city policy which encourages residents and employees of businesses to keep the downtown open to potential customers.

Simons said the city is still considering using the revenues earned by parking meters, fines and permits to help build a parking garage in the downtown to help alleviate congestion. He added revenues are on track to earn about $600,000 annually.

Users must pay a monthly service fee of $1 per device. Reload fees cost $2.95 for up to $50, $3.45 for up to $75 and $3.95 for up to $100. Reloads can be completed online with a credit or debit card, according to a release.

The devices can be purchased by cash or check at the Dover Police Department, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., or at the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce during regular business hours, as well as online at www.easyparkusa.com.

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John Quinn may be reached at jquinn@newstote.com.


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