High hopes for city’s new app for downtown parking users
Peterborough’s getting a new smartphone parking app and the executive director of the Downtown Business Improvement Area says he’s “thrilled” about it.
“I think it’s absolutely necessary for a modern city,” said Terry Guiel, executive director of the DBIA association. “More and more people aren’t carrying cash — especially not small change.”
Yet the only way to pay for parking downtown is through meters or pay-and-display machines that don’t take credit or debit cards.
New mobile parking apps allow people to pay using their smartphones instead.
No details were available from the city on Tuesday about exactly how the system will work or when it will be available.
Lynn Todd, the city’s parking operations co-ordinator, said more information will be released Thursday when the app is unveiled in the City Hall boardroom.
Some apps, such as the one used in Toronto, ask motorists to type the numerical code of the parking spot into their phones. The code is written on a meter sitting on the curb.
Motorists decide how long they want to park, then deduct the fee from a sum they’ve prepaid on their phone, using a credit card.
Notifications are sent when your time is running out and you can pay for a bit of extra time using your phone rather than having to feed a meter.
Mayor-elect Diane Therrien included the implementation of a mobile parking app in her policy platform; she couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.
But Dean Pappas, who was re-elected as Town Ward councillor in the Oct. 22 election, said Tuesday he’s delighted the
parking app is coming.
The new mobile app will likely be less expensive for the city than retrofitting pay-and-display machines to take debit or credit, he said.
“This is a cheaper option, and probably more convenient for people,” Pappas said. “Everyone seems to have a smartphone these days.”
The downtown also has free WiFi, he added, which means motorists won’t have to use their data to pay for parking.
Toronto started using its mobile parking app in October 2016. By 10 months later the number of parking tickets issued in the city had dropped by a third.
The Globe and Mail quoted Toronto police as saying the sharp decrease in parking tickets came because it was suddenly so easy to pay for parking.
Toronto’s overall parking revenue declined by one per cent, or $1.5 million, in those first 10 months because parking tickets were down.
But never mind that revenue: Kemi Akapo, councillor-elect in Town Ward, said it’s good to have increased compliance among motorists.
Besides, she said, making it easier to park may encourage people to go downtown more often and shop more.
“I think it’s great,” she said. Pappas said the convenience will be a relief for a lot of people.
“This app will make being downtown easier,” he said. “If we have the technology, we’d be silly not to use it.”
The app will be revealed to the media — and demonstrated — on Thursday at 2 p.m. in the boardroom at City Hall.