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DDOT Launches "Pay-By-License-Plate" Parking

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DDOT's pilot program uses license plate numbers to electronically track who has paid for parking.
Rebecca Sheir
DDOT's pilot program uses license plate numbers to electronically track who has paid for parking.

By Rebecca Sheir

Parking enforcement officers in Northwest D.C. are using license plate numbers to monitor who's paid for parking. The D.C. Department of Transportation is testing the new system for 90 days.

Noah Cruzan of Cale Parking Systems is helping drivers with the new meters on U Street.

"You have to enter your license plate number first," he says to Chih Dong of Silver Spring, Maryland.

What?," she responds. "Thats too complicated!"

But after Cruzan walks Dong through the steps of paying with card or cash, and selecting how much time she wants, she changes her tune.

"Oh, so there's no receipt. I don't need a receipt," she remarks.

"You can get a receipt if you want one," Cruzan replies. "You don't have to have one, though. You don't have to display it."

In addition to freedom from dashboard receipts, another benefit - says DDOT spokesperson John Lisle - is the electronic enforcement.

"Parking enforcement officers going down the street use cameras mounted on the vehicles to read the license plates and to tell whether that person has paid for parking or not," he says.

Of course, even if you've entered your plate number and paid up, there could be one pitfall: it's still against D.C. law to drive with expired plates.

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