When you use the city’s brand-new pay-by-phone parking setup to pay for a metered space — introduced by the mayor this morning — what are you giving up? Well, an extra 35 cents to the system’s vendor, Parkmobile, beyond the parking fee. Plus you’re telling city officials — and parking enforcement officers — where your car is parked, its license plate number, and a good way to reach you. But city Admin & Regulatory Affairs spokesperson Chris Newport tells Swamplot that’s all: “No credit card or email information will be accessed. We retain the plate/phone number parking transaction history to allow us to verify someone paid for parking in the event of a complaint regarding a citation that may have been issued in error.”
What if you’ve got a few outstanding tickets?
“We have been using the Texas DMV vehicle registration database for a number of years to locate folks that need to be reminded that they owe outstanding parking fines. We will continue to rely on that database alone,” Newport says. “We do not have any plans or any intention of developing any plans to share or cross check Pay by Phone user information against other information or for any other purpose.”
The service will now apparently by spam-free, too: Earlier this week Parkmobile removed a few paragraphs from its term and conditions that had given the company permission to send advertising texts and emails to users. Parkmobile now says the changes aren’t just for Houston, but for all cities where Parkmobile operates.
- Call (877) 727-5953 to park in Houston [Houston Chronicle]
- Previously on Swamplot: Houston to Pay-By-Phone Parking Meter Vendor: Don’t Spam Downtown Visitors, Please, Pay for Downtown Parking with Your Mobile Phone, Receive Text Message Ads for Free!