You can do practically anything with your smart phone. Now you can use it to pay for parking in Evanston.

There’s an app for that. It’s called PassportParking, and you can download it for free on either an iPhone or an Android phone.

Once you download it to your phone and enter your payment card information, you’re good to go.

Right now, PassportParking meters are only available in the 1600 and 1700 blocks of Sherman Avenue, but the city expects to expand usage throughout Evanston by the end of the summer.

You can also use it in other Passport cities as the service expands.

Let’s say you have a breakfast meeting downtown that begins at 7:15 a.m., but you don’t have to feed the parking meters until 8. No problem. You park and note the zone and meter numbers and go to your meeting.

But instead of excusing yourself to go outside to feed the meter at 8 o’clock, you do it right from your cell phone. If the meeting runs longer than expected, you can extend the time from your phone, just so long as you do not go beyond the maximum time allowed for that particular parking space.

Once you get the hang of it, you can learn some of the advanced features, such as paying by text or paying by voice.

“With PassportParking alerts,” says the city’s parking and revenue division manager Rickey Voss, “people parking in Evanston no longer need to worry about how much time they have left or running back to the meter to add more time. Now they can focus on all the great things Evanston has to offer.”

To learn more about the service, take a look at the company’s website.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

Join the Conversation


  1. Nice features. How reliable?

    The feature sounds great. Yet I'm finding these meters very unreliable. Last weekend I tried parking on Sherman by Starbucks, CVS, etc. It took me 5 tries to find 1 meter that accepted my credit card because the reader was defective. In some cases it wouldn't even register a card had been inserted. In others it said the card was damaged. I tried 3 different cards in each case. The same cards were used without trouble in the working meters and at merchants I shopped at. This convinced me the problem was the meter not the card. On Wednesday I had the same problem with two meters on Central and prairie. Fortunately a city worker was fixing a meter nearby. I mentioned the number of a broken meter to him a half block away. He challenged me as not knowing how to use the meter and suggested I was using something other than MasterCard or visa, the only card brand accepted. Not having coins handy I drove off to run other errands and give my shopping business elsewhere where I didn't have to pay to park at broken meters. I'm a fan an heavy user of technology. I like the app … If only the reliability of these meters is better.

    1. There are no defective meters

      There are no defective meters with this service. The information is all in The Cloud…not in the meter. The meter reader accesses The Cloud with a handheld device to determine if your time at that meter has expired.

    2. No problems for me

      Funny, I have been doing a lot of street meter parking lately downtown, not once have I had a problem with my visa card at a meter.  One time a broken meter, no card or coins on that one, but that went beyond the card issue.  Between my wife, kid and myself, talking dozens of meter stops.

      I love those meters, no more rolls of quarters in my car, I'm not inconvenienced walking back and forth to some stupid pay box.  Not sure why you have had so much trouble, but it's at complete odds with my experiences. 

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *