BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — After new downtown parking meters got mixed reviews in their first year, city officials are tweaking the system to make them a little more user friendly — and forgiving.
Based on feedback from business owners, visitors and downtown residents, the city has decided to widen the parameters for grace period and fines. The city is also rolling out a new mobile app, Sentry Mobile, to help drivers see how much time they have left on their meters and buy more from their phones.
The biggest change is the amount of time a driver can linger in a spot, which has been extended from two to four hours.
Parking meter fines will be reduced from $40 to $25.
The period of time a driver can be parked in a space before a violation is issued will be extended from five minutes to 10. After 10 minutes, the driver must insert payment of 25 cents per quarter hour or leave the space.
In addition, the period of time a driver may be parked in the space after the paid time has run out will be extended from five to 10 minutes.
Sentry Mobile is available at the APP Store for free. Users have to register and may add money to their accounts — from $10 to $50 — using a credit or debit card. To pay for a spot, users select the meter number, enter their license plate number and select a time from 15 minutes to two hours.
The app includes a map of nearby meters and available spaces.
Downtown parking remains free on Sundays, holidays and every day after 6 p.m.
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