High hopes for city’s new app for down­town park­ing users

The Peterborough Examiner - - Front Page - JOELLE KOVACH Ex­am­iner Staff Writer

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.

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