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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Pay-by-phone parking suspended while Spokane negotiates contract with new vendor

New labels have been posted over codes that used to allow parkers to pay by phone for stalls downtown, as seen on this meter near the corner of Sprague Avenue and Monroe Street on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017. The city is working to set up a new service that could be online as early as next month, officials say, following a dispute with a previous contractor over unpaid dues. (Kip Hill / The Spokesman-Review)

The pay-by-phone option has been disabled at downtown Spokane parking meters following a dispute over unpaid money.

But city officials say a short-term replacement should be available in a couple of weeks.

Smartphone codes that appeared on pay-by-phone enabled meters have been replaced by stickers promoting the city’s new 311 services line, said Jonathan Mallahan, director of building and neighborhood services. Functionality with QuickPay, an app developed by the company LocoMobi, was turned off Friday, he said. Meters did not have to be plugged Monday due to the President’s Day Holiday.

“We’re working quickly to get a new vendor in place,” Mallahan said Tuesday, noting a short-term contract with a company could be signed as early as this week, followed by a two-week period to set up the new service. Mallahan declined to say which company would be providing the service, citing ongoing negotiations.

The city also is working with LocoMobi, which has provided pay-by-phone services for Spokane since the option was introduced in November 2014, to receive the roughly $80,000 the company owes contractually, Mallahan said. He added there was “no disagreement” the company owed the city money.

Credit card payments still are accepted at about 800 meters downtown. Mallahan said the new pay-by-phone service will be similar to the functionality of LocoMobi’s QuickPay application.