Penticton is giving the cashless society another boost with the start of a new mobile parking payment trial.
Residents and visitors can now use a phone app to pay for parking at meters in two locations: on the 100 block of Martin Street and at the 421 Ellis St. parking lot.
The Passport Canada app, created by Passport Parking LLC, both eliminates the need to carry change for parking meters and notifies you when your time is running out, even allowing you to feed the meter remotely.
Tina Siebert, Penticton’s bylaw supervisor, said they’ve been thinking about the idea for about six months.
“What we hear a lot is people don’t carry coins anymore. They want to have another option for payment,” said Siebert. “We just wanted to do a pilot and test it out to see the uptake on it and work out whether or not it is something we want to deploy city-wide.”
This is also one of the city’s more cost-effective projects. Other than adding number decals, there are no changes to the parking meters: users simply enter the parking spot number and their licence plate into the app.
“We have a backend software that we log in and check to see if there is a payment,” said Siebert. “It’s quite an easy system to use, and it didn’t require too much change to our existing technology.”
Siebert added they chose the two locations to try it out both on-street and in a parking lot.
Passport Canada is available on both Apple and Android devices and is free to download through the App Store or Google Play. Users can also manage their parking at passportca.com.
The app also features a digital wallet which makes it possible for parkers to pre-load funds using their debit or credit cards to pay for future parking. All users who preload $20 will receive a $5 bonus in their digital wallet.
City hall will monitor use of the app and its effectiveness over the next few weeks before considering implementing it more widely. Feedback about the app can be sent to Siebert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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