Best parking apps 2014

| December 22, 2014

Time spent circling, hefty fines, illegible signs: Parking seems more of a hassle than its worth in our age of tap-and-go ride sharing and cheap public transit. But if you’re in a pinch and need to find parking, take a look at our roundup of our current favorite apps that’ll get you parked quickly and cheaply.

Time expired parking meter

Our rundown of our current favorite parking apps. Image from Jeff Kubina.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

Parker: Not only can you hunt down street parking as well as garage spots using Parker, consider this app your personal translator for tough-to-decipher street signs. Though its coverage isn’t as wide as other parking apps, Parker is one of our faves for its search options (seek out spots that meet your specs, such as handicap-accessible spots), a useful voice navigation feature, and handy directions back to your car — particularly helpful when navigating a new city or even a crowded lot.

BestParking: New York City bargain hunters might already be familiar with BestParking.com, which sprang up out of that city and has since earned accolades from the Wall Street Journal, but the site’s app is equally useful for drivers in 105 cities and 115 airports throughout North America. Another claim to fame for the app, which maps parking prices and offers discount coupons, is its 1.5 million downloads. Plus, it promises a $5 Starbucks gift card to users who report any faulty information.

RECOMMENDED

Pango: Relatively new to the game — at least in the U.S., where it’s currently on offer in Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia and Arizona — Pango, which claims 700,000 users, lets people pay for parking by mobile phone, and sends an alert warning when the meter is about to expire. Traveling abroad? Pango is available in certain cities throughout Greece, Israel and Brazil.

ParkMe: This freebie app that lets drivers search by address, zip code or city and compare parking garage rates in more than 60 countries and 100,000 locales. Other handy details are provided, too — like overnight parking options, average monthly rates, and EV charging station locations — for highly frequented locales.

ParkingPanda: Reserve spots in over 40 cities — including prime parking spots near shows and sporting events — using this app which promises drivers up to 70% off. You can also earn $5 credits for every friend you invite who books a space of their own. Raves one reviewer in the Apple App Store, “I travel a lot and this app lets me reserve cheap parking ahead of time. They even saved me a space when the location was sold out last week.”

Park Whiz: ParkWhiz offers comprehensive, real-time parking details like amenities and prices for lots and garages in 30 states and 150 cities, as well as a useful customer service number. Best of all, you can browse, book and pay for your spot in advance.

SpotHero: Another free app with a clean aesthetic, SpotHero lets users search by landmarks, hotels, restaurants, and other locales, compare rates, and reserve spaces. It’s now available in Chicago, San Francisco, DC, Boston, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia and Denver, with more cities on the way.

RUNNERS UP

City-specific apps: How cutting-edge is your city? A 2013 report on parking trends released by the International Parking Institute named its top 10 cities for innovative parking programs, including Miami, Houston, Boston, Denver and Pittsburgh, among others. Pioneering city programs, like San Francisco’s SFpark, and Tampa’s ParkMobile, are providing drivers with parking availability and payment options via smartphone apps, while programs like e-Park in Seattle offer real-time parking info via a mobile-friendly website.

 

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Category: Parking Tech

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