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The essential (and not-so-much) traffic and parking apps for getting around Philadelphia

One of the most roundly hated agencies in Philadelphia has unveiled an app that’s intended to make one of the worst parts about driving in the city easier — thanks, PPA! Yes, now you can use an app to pay for parking through the Parking Authority.

We rounded up the *official* apps you can download to make navigating both parking and traffic in the city easier if you’re a driver. Without further ado:

Parking

meterUP

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meterUP

The new PPA app is currently being piloted in certain parts of the city allows users to enter their car information and credit card number, then add in information about the specific parking zone. Seven minutes before your parking time runs out, you’ll get a notification and the opportunity to extend your time. More information on rates and locations can be found here.

Find it for free in the Apple Store here and for Android here.

Ratings and reviews: The app only has a few ratings on the Apple  Store, but it has an average rating of 2.8 over 10 reviews. for Android. One person complained “Selection of any extension beyond 15 min crashes the app” and “Doesn’t work. Tech support no help. Tried to uninstall and reinstall. That didn’t work either. Piece of junk.” Meanwhile, others had more positive experiences, with one user saying “I love it, save on parking tickets.”

ParkSnap

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ParkSnap

So this parking allows you to you to take a picture get of that little receipt that you’re supposed to put on your dash. The app will alert you when your parking is about to expire and you can also use it to get directions back to your car if you forget where you left the thing. But, sorry, you can’t actually use the app to extend your parking time. You’ll have to go back to the kiosk for that.

Find the app for free in the Apple Store here.

Ratings and reviews: Apple hasn’t received enough ratings to display an average for the app and now reviews are available, BUT you can check out this PhillyMag review of it titled “New Parking App Touted by the PPA Does Exactly Nothing You Want It To.”

ParkMe

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ParkMe

This free app compares parking prices and helps you find and reserve the cheapest and closest parking in your location. You can also find and compare parking prices at popular places (think airport, Wells Fargo Center, other local attractions) at its website. Once you find parking you want, you can reserve it via credit card directly on the app or the website, and then simply present your phone at the parking office of the location in which you reserved.

Find the app for free in the Apple Store here and for Android here.

Ratings and reviews: No reviews available on Apple, but the app has a 3.9 on Android. One person said “Great little app,” another commented that it “Finds me parking and where I parked.” Another said “It has become my best friend. Whenever I travel, this app becomes my partner. It shows me nearest parking lots.” One guy complained there aren’t features available in Canada yet. So.

ParkWhiz

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ParkWhiz

Similar to ParkMe, ParkWhiz locates garages and lots in your area and compares prices, then allows you to make a reservation via the app to secure your spot. The cool thing about this one: It syncs with your calendar, so if you have a visitor coming into town, he or she can reserve parking at a specific time and put reminders and information in their own calendar on their phone.

Find it for free in the Apple Store here and for Android here.

Ratings and reviews: Fourteen ratings on this Apple and this app has an average of two stars, with commenters saying positives like it’s helpful and useful, but several users complained that it wasn’t recognizing their location. It has a 4.2 average rating on Android, with some people saying it saved them money. One user commented though that after waiting in line at a parking facility, the lot was filled to capacity and wouldn’t allow the user in.

BestParking

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BestParking

Besides the fact that it looks like a game more than the others, BestParking guarantees accurate information and will give you a $5 Starbucks gift card if any of their pricing information is incorrect. The app looks for coupons and discounts for parking reservations, and also offers a feature where you can select that you need more space for your ride (in case you drive a minivan or a big ol’ SUV.)

Find it for free in the Apple Store here and for Android here.

Ratings and reviews: This app has a 4.5 star average rating on Apple and a 4.6 on Android. Users were largely positive saying things like “Excellent app Accurate, runs great, has great coupons. Love it.” Another person commented “I never have to drive around looking for parking anymore. I also know the price going into it. I love this app.”

Traffic

Way2Ride

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Way2Ride

In order to “compete” with ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, Philadelphia’s 1,600 cabs can be hailed via this kinda janky app called Way2Ride that was developed by Verifone. Is it as cool and flashy and #hip as Uber? No way. But you can’t argue that cab drivers know their way around this city better than almost anyone.

Find it for free in the Apple Store here and for Android here.

Ratings and reviews: This app has a 3.5 rating on Apple and a 3.6 on Android. One person commented “Issues paying(.) Trying to change your tip just causes an error. When I switched from percent to dollars, it seemed to work. Reopened the app to find that an error occured, and it defaulted back to $20 instead of 20%! Very scary using this app for payment.” Another said”Addicted!!! I was always uncomfortable with using apps that have drivers that are not regulated.” (<– Maybe a taxi company ringer? Just sayin’.)

YourDrive

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YourDrive

CBSPhilly and KYW bring you YourDrive, an entire app dedicated exclusively to traffic in Philadelphia that pulls in realtime traffic information and pushes alerts to your phone. The app covers Philadelphia, as well as surrounding counties in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey suburbs.

Find it for free in the Apple Store here or for Android here.

Ratings and reviews: This app has a 3.5 rating on Apple and a 3.4 on Android. One user commented “Doesn’t show options for saved routes when there is traffic so you can quickly change your route.” Another said “Great just needs to give a little more advance warning of connecting routes.”

511PA

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Dept. of Transportation

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s 511 function has an app for that. This app gives you advisories for every PennDOT roadway in the state, so you can get updates on construction, closures and the like for some of the state’s busiest roads.

Find it for free in the Apple Store here or for Android here.

Ratings and reviews: This app doesn’t have a full rating yet on Apple, but it scored a 3.9 on Android. One person commented “user experience could be better. E.g., Legend button is actually a menu to select options. The app is a little slow. Waze and Google Maps might be a better choice unless you want camera views.” Another said “Already saved me some time. This is great, just wish it would work in multiple states.”

Waze

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Waze

This app isn’t specific to Philadelphia or even the state, but it’s essential for daily commuters, especially if you drive every day on the dreaded Schuylkill. It updates traffic routes in real-time and will send you to, say, MLK Drive if the Expressway is a backed up for miles. It also uses crowd-sourced information to let you know when there are hazards coming up like backups, roadkill, crashes (and also cops).

Find it for free in the Apple Store here or for Android here.

Ratings and reviews: This app has a 4.5 star rating on Apple and a 4.6 on Android. Users largely love Waze, with most people commenting things like “I suggest this app for all drivers. It helped me in taking detours even if I didn’t know about the alternatives.”

This story has been updated to add the meterUP app.

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