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North Bay to roll out pay-by-mobile app parking

March 15, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jacqueline O'Hara
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Drivers may soon be able to pay to park in downtown North Bay using their phones.  Council approved an amendment to the city's on-street parking bylaw last week that will allow customers to pay for parking via a cell phone app.


Although a pay-by-phone system is not yet in place, the amendment will allow it to be rolled out down the road.


The system would apply to any of the city's parking meter zones, letting users pay for parking wherever they are. Drivers could park in numerous areas of the downtown without having to pay each time and there would be no need to race out of a meeting or restaurant to feed the meter. Enforcement officers would receive confirmation of the payment using their own devices.


Coun. George Maroosis, although not opposed to the move, expressed some cynicism, noting drivers sometimes can't even use cash to pay for parking because the city's machines have stopped working in the cold.  Often an advocate of modernizing city operations, Maroosis gibed at how “outstanding” it is that parking enforcement is the department that's leading the way.


“And you wonder sometimes why our citizens think we do an excellent job at parking enforcement and not so good in some other areas,” he said. “I'm not against it. I'll just be happy to see how it works.”


A report to council suggests the pay-by-phone system will potentially allow for businesses to validate parking for customers. And it notes drivers won’t have to leave unused time a meter only to purchase more time at a pay and display machine if they move to different location.  


The proposed rate, which included consultation with the Downtown Improvement Area, is $1.25 per hour plus a fee of between 30 and 50 cents, applicable to each transaction, to cover the city's costs including banking transaction fees, signage and technical services.