Parking at Southern Oregon University in Ashland just got a whole lot easier.

Forget the yellow, green and red parking stickers you had to paste on your bumpers and those machines that spit out passes for your dashboard.

Now it’s all digital. You download the PayByPhone app and charge parking to your credit card, whether it's for an hour or a term. The school’s busy parking enforcement team only has to scan your license plate and look at the app to see whether you’re paid up or your time has expired, says SOU spokesman Joe Mosley.

If you’re a visitor and your appointment is lasting longer than planned, you need only to look at your phone screen to see how many minutes you have left. Once those expire, just tap more time into your account.

For users, it's a time and trouble saver. For SOU, it's a money saver, Mosley says. While the service and software of a nationwide firm may cost a bit more, the university will save two-tenths of one position on the parking force, he says.

The PayByPhone does require staff, faculty, students and visitors to have a smartphone, but Mosley says visitors still will be able to use the parking pass dispensers on campus, at least for a while.

“It’s sorta fun, useful technology,” Mosley says, adding that there’s a bit of a learning curve.

Most students pay for parking by the term and will be able to do it with the app, he says. “You won’t need the sticker anymore.”

PayByPhone, in a statement from its offices in Silicon Valley, said the system is in use at 20 universities, including University of California, Berkeley and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The city of Medford starting using PayByPhone for downtown parking spots in 2013.

“After seeing its success at other universities, we are confident that PayByPhone will ease the parking experience for any visitor to our campus,” Frederick Creek, director of Campus Public Safety and Parking, says in a PayByPhone release. “We can’t wait to see how it assists commuters, and the Parking Services department throughout the year.”

The firm notes in the release, “The app encompasses all options available at a meter and more, allowing drivers to choose from hourly, daily, three-day or weekly permits, while also providing text reminders prior to a session expiring, and the ability to extend a parking session remotely."

Drivers can begin a parking session without registering for the app, and users can save the locations of their favorite parking spots in the "favorites" feature.

The firm’s parent company is Volkswagen Financial Services.

—Reach Ashland freelance writer John Darling at jdarling@jeffnet.org.