DARIEN, Conn. — Train riders could soon pay for their parking spaces at Darien stations by using pay stations and their phones, rather than having to buy paper scratch-off vouchers.
The town is finalizing an agreement to lease six pay stations for Darien's two train stations as well as a pay-by-phone app for smartphones, according to Town Administrator Karl Kilduff. Darien will also implement an online renewal system for annual parking permits as well as a license plate reader to better enforce parking at the train stations.
The smartphone app would allow people to check how many spaces are available at the lot before parking. After parking, riders would be able to enter their license plate at the pay station or into the app rather than their spot number. This will make it easier for the license plate reader to make sure that cars are parked in the paid-for spot, Kilduff said. The app would also allow riders to pay for their spot after they had already boarded a train.
The pay stations could be installed as early as spring, Kilduff said. If the pay-by-phone app takes off, it would allow the town to later reduce the number of pay stations at the train stations.
Earlier this fall, Darien had considered increasing the cost for daily parking at the train stations. Due to Hurricane Sandy, the town was forced to cancel the public hearing required before the rates could be increased. If Darien were to increase the parking rate in the future, the new technology could make the process easier, Kilduff said. The town would not have to print out new scratch-off vouchers that reflected the increased price, he said.
The online permit renewal will likely be implemented by this time next year. The online database and license plate reader will make it easier for the town to ensure that people are not trading their permits to other people, a problem the town has experienced in the past.