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Tired of digging through your pocket or purse looking for one more quarter to pay for parking in downtown Madison? Never fear, ParkNOW! is here.

City officials rolled out a new service that enables customers to use cellphones to pay for parking through pre-paid accounts set up by a credit card.

Mayor Paul Soglin, business leaders and Madison Parking Utility officials unveiled the system Tuesday at the Downtown Visitors Center on State Street.

There is one catch: a convenience fee of 45 cents for each transaction.

Parkers can either call the local Pay by cellphone number, 268-3346, or use a ParkNOW! app to pay for parking at spots utilizing the electronic meters. The app can be found at

Drivers also will have the ability to extend parking time remotely to the full amount of time allowed and to stop the parking session to only pay for the actual time parked.

City officials feel the new payment option will reduce the number of parking citations issued and improve the quality of the Downtown experience for visitors.

The pilot program is available in the city's Buckeye lot off West Gilman Street. Fifty-four spaces in the lot will offer the service through August. The program could be expanded to the city's more than 850 public spaces if it proves successful.

— Reporter Samara Kalk-Derby of the State Journal contributed to this report.

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