News & Information

PayByPhone users get 2 days of 35-cent parking


In the media:

KCRA 3: College introduces new parking app | 35-cent parking offered at Sac State

Fox 40: Pay-by-phone parking now offered at Sac State

Sacramento Bee: 35-cent parking? Sac State rolls out promotional pay-by-phone system

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Parking Machine

Students and campus visitors using Sacramento State’s PayByPhone system for daily parking permits will be able to park for (nearly) free the first two days of the Fall 2013 semester.

Parking is normally $6 for an all-day permit and $3 for two hours, but on Tuesday, Sept. 3, and Wednesday, Sept. 4, those fees will be waived if the drivers use their cell phones to pay to park. They’ll still pay the 35-cent “convenience” fee for using the automated service.

Representatives from University Transportation and Parking Services (UTAPS) are offering the promotion to get more people using the phone option instead of lining up at the information kiosks or payment machines around campus.

Motorists first sign up online at, supplying their license plate and credit card numbers, and then downloading the free phone app. Once on campus, smart phone users may park in a student-only space and use their iPhone, Blackberry, Android or other mobile device to enter Sac State’s location number – 5115 – and their parking duration. Those with more basic cell phones can call PayByPhone’s toll-free number – 866-234-7275 – to get a permit. Customers should activate their PayByPhone session before leaving their vehicles.

When parking enforcement officers come across a vehicle without a permit in the window, they check the license plate number for an electronic permit.

The exact name of the technology is pay-by-plate, as opposed to pay-and-display, which produces a paper permit, says UTAPS Senior Director Tony Lucas. “We’re at the leading edge of this pay-by-plate movement,” he says. “Pay-and-display is kind of a dying technology.”

Daily parking passes are typically purchased by students who drive to campus only occasionally but otherwise use public transit, car pools, or find other ways to campus. The system also will prove useful to visitors who frequent campus for events such as lectures, exhibits or performances.

PayByPhone was implemented on campus in April and quickly has garnered fans. An average of 75-100 people a day used the system in the waning days of the Spring 2013 semester. That’s compared to 1,500-2,000 who get paper permits. Lucas says the goal of the free days is to get more people to try the new service. “We’ve found that once our customers register and use PayByPhone, they keep using it,” he says.

The system also has one big advantage over paper permits. A two-hour user will get a text when their parking time is about to expire, giving them the option of buying more time if they can’t get to their car on time. That saves them the cost of a $43 parking ticket.

The PayByPhone system is being used by several colleges and cities in the United States and Canada, including Sacramento and San Francisco, and is available to anyone registering through the website.

During the first couple of days of school, UTAPS will have its “street team” of volunteers circulating the parking lots and structures, with many strategically placed at the permit machines to talk with people about PayByPhone. “We encourage anyone with a cell phone to try PayByPhone,” Lucas says. “It’s easier and you don’t have to wait in line.”

PayByPhone users can get a step-by-step video tutorial for the app here.

For more information on University parking, visit For media assistance call Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.

– Craig Koscho