"Park-by-Cell Phone" Coming to Lansing

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An Irish brouge could be the voice behind your next downtown Lansing parking experience--a call to a company called "Park Magic."

The Irish company will make its first appearance in the U.S. in Michigan's capital city. Lansing has contracted to try their parking device for 12 weeks and then consider purchasing.

It works by calling the number associated with a pager assigned to you. You dial in the time you'd like to park, let them charge it to your credit card, and leave the Park Magic pager on the dash.

"If we are moving to a cashless society, we need to move that way as well," says Lansing's transporation engineer Andy Kilpatrick.

It means no more scrounging for change when you're in a hurry and no more being stuck inside, while your meter is running out.

"When you're in the courtroom, or in a business, or another attorney's office," says Joli Collette, who works at an attorney's office, "you don't always have time to run down, so I would try it."

Lansing will test "Park Magic" over a 12 week period, with a trial group of about 50 parkers. While they do that, they'll be searching for other cashless alternatives.

"There are other payment technologies we'll be looking at over the next six months," Kilpatrick says.

The Park Magic pager would require a deposit of approximately 15 dollars. You could manage your account online.

You would be charged $1 per hour to park. That is the rate on most of the meters in the heart of downtown. With Park Magic, you would pay that rate anywhere in the city.