News & Information

Sac State on 'leading edge' of pay-by-plate technology


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

Parking Machine

Sacramento State students and visitors no longer have to line up at a payment machine to park on campus. Getting a permit is now just a phone call away.

A new PayByPhone system for daily and two-hour parking permits now allows motorists to get permits through their cell phone.

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.”

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.

A daylong permit is $6. A two-hour permit costs $3, plus a 35-cent service fee.

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. That saves them the cost of a $43 parking ticket.

PayByPhone had a soft opening in April and quickly 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.

As an incentive to get even more customers using the phone system, Sac State is offering nearly free parking the first two days of school – Tuesday Sept. 3 and Wednesday Sept. 4. The normal fees will be waived by using PayByPhone, only the 35 cent convenience fee will be applied.

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 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