Dial-A-Parking-Meter A Hit In Fla.

GENERIC cell phone coin parking meter CBS/AP

Drivers lacking coins now may use cell phones to feed parking meters in Coral Gables.

The automated system allows drivers to simply dial in from their cell phone and punch in the number assigned to their parking spot. The meter fee, plus a 25-cent usage fee, will be billed to the driver's credit card.

When leaving, drivers call back and end the billing cycle.

The Miami suburb began offering the system this month on its 4,573 meters. So far, more than 250 people have subscribed.

"It's innovative," said Mari Molina, executive director of the Gables Business Improvement District. "People come down and they start meandering and they forget about their parking meters, and we certainly don't want them to get parking tickets."

PayMint, the Toronto-based company that offers the service, e-mails users copies of their transactions and allows subscribers to track their usage online. The service already is being used at several locations in Ontario and British Columbia.

  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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