file photo of parking meters. (Photo by Jason Viau)

Windsor To Implement Parking Payment App

The City of Windsor has moved a step closer to allowing people to use their phones to pay for parking at municipal meters.

The concept appeals to Mayor Drew Dilkens, who is eager to apply modern technology to city parking.

“This is going to be really cool. This is going to be a big change in our parking system,” says Dilkens. “You’ll now be able to pay for parking using your mobile phone.”

Windsor City Council signed off this week on a motion to award a three-year contract to a company developing a mobile parking payment system. The system would work for street parking as well as city-owned and operated lots.

PassportParking Inc. is based in Wilmington, Delaware. The company’s official website says it works with municipalities and transit companies across North America, and have installed similar mobile payment systems in Detroit, Chicago, Victoria, B.C., and most recently, Montreal. The cost to Windsor is estimated around $18,000 a year.

Users will soon be able to download an app to their cell phones and pay for parking using a credit card number.  There would also be a 15-cent convenience charge per use.

Dilkens says the system will be much more convenient.

“Many folks don’t have change in their cars, or in their pockets anymore,” says Dilkens. “They pay for everything with their phone. So, this will allow folks who want to park within the City of Windsor to pay with their phone, and then top it off from wherever they are, without having to leave the restaurant, and put another quarter or dollar into the meter.”

The new system will eventually replace one that is outdated and slow. It could increase revenues of over $16,000 per year starting in 2018 and would require no change to the enforcement operating budget, which is funded through levies.

Dilkens says the city will start with meters in the downtown core, but it will be a gradual transition citywide.

“It’s a phased-in process.  As you can imagine, there are a lot of meters in the city of Windsor,” says Dilkens. ” Over the next five years, you’ll see a complete transformation of the parking system with respect to the way that you can pay to park in the City of Windsor.”

The app system could start to roll out within the next few months.