This story has been updated with information about Rapid City’s parking meter system.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Downtown parking meters with 2G cellular capacity are being replaced with 4G meters, said Matt Nelson, the parking manager for the city of Sioux Falls.
“They ran as long as they could,” Nelson said of the 2G platform meters.
Upgrading the 2G meters to 4G is keeping up with technology. Many carriers are eliminating 2G service so which makes 2G meters outdated.
The 4G meters will allow users to pay with cash or use an application to pay with credit or debit cards or other payment applications such as Apple Pay or PayPal, Nelson said. Users will need their cell phones or another mobile device or even a computer to pay with the applications.
The 4G meters will be more efficient for the city and users, he said.
“At this point, we’re trying to catch up with our payment options,” Nelson said. “Instead of using the meter to pay, you’d use your own device to pay. It allows us to do it in a very cost effective manner.”
Sioux Falls bought a vehicle that can read the meters from the vehicle and tell if people have paid, Nelson said.
The city’s handheld system will also be able to read the meters.
“We’ve been planning this for years,” Nelson said. “We knew 2Gs were going away.”
All 600 parking meters in Rapid City’s downtown are 4G meters, said Anna Gilligan, the city’s parking operations manager.
The city’s meter provider, IPS, made the upgrades in the meters, Gilligan said.
Gilligan said the 4G system is faster than the old system.
Rapid City meters have had the application option to pay. Gilligan said users can use an application to pay remotely such as from a bar or restaurant.
“People who stay downtown at a hotel, as long as they know the meter number, they wouldn’t have to get up as soon as enforcement starts, (to feed the meter),” Gilligan said.
The infrastructure is in place for the change, the city needs to choose the application provider for the meters, Nelson said. Examples of potential contractors include ParkMobile, Text2Pay, and Passportparking.
The most common area for the new 4G meters is Phillips Avenue and Main Avenue, Nelson said.
The city classifies its parking meters as coin only and smart meters. The number of smart meters will be reduced as part of the 2G to 4G conversion, Nelson said. Those will be changed to what are classified as coin meters.
The majority of those changed meters are in the area of 9th Street and Main Avenue, Nelson said.
“We have no goal of getting rid of credit card payment meters,” Nelson said. “We reduced our footprint for some of the meters where you actually slide the credit card just because we needed to right size that and look at how we were balancing fines and fees. We’re in the process of developing a program where you’d be able to use a credit card at any of our meters downtown whether that would be a coin-operated or a credit card meter. You’d be able to pay with a credit card anywhere.”
Users in Rapid City can use coins, credit or debit cards and the pay ap options at all meters, Gilligan said.
“I think the general response is pretty good,” Gilligan said of the meters. Users who may be more comfortable paying meters in coins can still do so, she said.
Sioux Falls had about 330 smart meters at the peak and it will have 250. The city has a total of about 1,000 meters, Nelson said.
Generally, coin meters are $1 per hour while smart meters are $1.25 per hour.
The city’s parking meters are in effect from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except city holidays.