Confusion, Complaints Surround Sacramento’s New Parking Meter App

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SACRAMENTO -- There's been some confusion and a lot of complaints about the city of Sacramento's new parking meter smart phone app, Parkmobile.

Customers have been complaining, once they pay using the phone, the display on the meter itself does not change. It's an issue Parkmobile, which is based in Atlanta, said is common on its toll-free number.

But in Sacramento, changes to the meter system have many upset.

There are now Parkmobile app stickers on Sacramento's meters, but most people told FOX40 in Old Sacramento Wednesday they didn't even know there was an app.

"I didn't even know, 'cause how often do you read a meter," asked Heather Harris.

"We don't come here that often, so it's all pretty confusing, and I wouldn't know. So there's a phone app you can buy," asked Ed Kelly from Rio Vista.

But most people are still feeding their meters downtown and in Old Sacramento with quarters.

"Yeah there's an app for that but... I mean Pokemon Go works better than the app," said Kristen Cabrera from Elk Grove.

Many said the app is not working, claiming when you pay on your phone, the meter still flashes red and the screen reads expired.

"Finding out that the app is not crediting the meter, I'd rather for sure use the coins," said Mark Sheppard, who works in Old Sacramento at Graciano's Chicago Deep Dish & Speakeasy.

Cabrera said she just got too frustrated to use the app.

"I tried and it crashed. So I gave up and just took it off my phone," Cabrera said.

The city said it is working out the kinks, and that the record on the smart phone will allow customers to dispute parking tickets that shouldn't have been issued.

But the city admits parking enforcement officers verify payment by checking the meters' display screen.

A city spokesperson told FOX40 officers would have to radio into headquarters to check if the spot was paid for with the app while in the field. But most meters will update within the first few minutes after payment with the app, depending on cell phone tower traffic at the time, according to the city.

"How are you going to prove you actually paid? If they say 'oh no you didn't.' And it's like 'yeah, here it is' and you open the app and the app crashes," Cabrera questions.

What concerns Sheppard more than the app is the new extended hours. He believes it's going to hurt business because no one is going to want to pay a meter after 6 p.m.

"To extend it till 10 is crazy, that's another reason a lot of people don't come out here," Sheppard said. He said customers are already complaining.

"I understand that they have to pay for parking and pay for the city and the roads and all that, but the rates to me, I think, are kinda high," he said.