NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The city parking authority is looking at implementing a phone app that’d let customers reserve a parking spot on their phones.

If the idea becomes a reality, users could download the app, reserve the spot and pay on their phone, according to Mitch Karon, executive director of the New Brunswick Parking Authority.

Users would have thousands of spots across New Brunswick from which to choose, spanning seven parking decks, two garages and four lots.

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The customer would be able to use their phone as the ticket to scan it at the entrance, then scan it again when they exit, Karon said.  

If 300 people reserved spaces in a hypothetical 400-space deck at the same time, Karon said, the system would show that the parking authority reduced 300 spaces.

“Obviously there’d be a premium for that service,” for a customer who'd want parking right next to their destination, Karon said at the NBPA’s October 25 meeting.

In a best-case scenario, the app would be fully rolled out by early 2018, Karon said, though nothing is set in stone. The parking authority would likely have to go out for competitive pricing for an app developer with which to contract.

One strong contender is Parkmobile, Karon said, who the parking authority already contracts for the pay-by-phone option for the city’s parking meters.

With the existing app, a customer enters their payment method and license plate number and pays via the app, rather than at the meter itself.

The customer can decide to add more time to the parking meter, via their app. Parkmobile communicates the information to the parking enforcement officer via their handheld device, so the officer knows not to ticket the customer.