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Pay by phone parking coming to Toronto

Posted by Chris Bateman / May 7, 2014

toronto parking meterPaying for parking in Toronto is about to become technology friendly. Starting this summer, the Toronto Parking Authority is planning to open up some Green P parking lots to mobile phone payments with an eye to expanding the scheme to on-street spaces later in the year.

It will probably work something like this, although some details are still up in the air: Users will register their license plate, credit card, and mobile phone numbers with the city and agree to receive messages when their meter or pay-and-display slip is about to expire. Instead of returning, users will be allowed to buy more time remotely.

Earlier this year, city council again approved a 10-minute grace period for overstayers at the discretion of the enforcement officer (scofflaws and repeat offenders shouldn't expect an easy ride). Combining the two should, the city believes, should result in fewer parking tickets and less pressure on the court system. According to the Toronto Star, more than 74,000 cases were deferred in 2012 due to a lack of available courtrooms.

The TPA expects the scheme to expand to the city's 18,000 on-street parking spaces after the summer. Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg have similar systems already in place.

City council voted to adopt the necessary by-law changes Tuesday.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: Gadjo Sevilla/blogTO Flickr pool.



W. K. Lis / May 7, 2014 at 09:17 am
I'm sorry, the number you called is out of service.
Rafa replying to a comment from W. K. Lis / May 7, 2014 at 09:31 am
And here's your $30 ticket
Greg / May 7, 2014 at 10:09 am
I didn't get the message that said my time was about to expire now I've got a ticket! Yes you did! No I didn't! Yes you did! No I didn't!
Aaron / May 7, 2014 at 10:11 am
Do those parking meters have a plug to charge smartphones?
Drew / May 7, 2014 at 10:12 am
Can the city not just fully launch something that works for everyone at once? I see value in the idea, but I see no value in it only being offered at SOME Green P lots. Why am I going to register for this if its not convenient for me majority of the time.

Sounds like the transit Presto Card implementation.
KevinN / May 7, 2014 at 10:14 am
I am always furious when I get a parking ticket and decide to pay it online (because I can't get to Metro Hall to pay for it during hours) and am slapped with a $1.50 processing fee. What a f'n cash grab for something done ONLINE.

I feel no remorse for this city.
Darm / May 7, 2014 at 10:44 am
Wouldn't it be a wise move to implement all common methods of payment? Still no option to pay via debit. Tap & go would be nice too.
Kevin / May 7, 2014 at 11:13 am
They already have a similar service in Vancouver -

I've used it many, many times and never had any issues.
Jacob replying to a comment from Drew / May 7, 2014 at 11:33 am
The summer rollout is the test phase.

You don't honestly expect them to test it at every single lot, do you?
Monika / May 7, 2014 at 12:06 pm
"Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg have similar systems already in place." So sad that Toronto lags behind with what seems to be the most obvious to make life in the city more efficient. Explaining the advantages of modern technology to City of Toronto is like explaining the Internet to my 97 year old grandmother.
Marc replying to a comment from Monika / May 7, 2014 at 12:20 pm
To be fair, people like you 97 year old grandmother are still running the city.
Ryan / May 7, 2014 at 01:55 pm
Why not just register our license plates, and never have to call in. Park anywhere. The meter-maids are always skulking anyway. Now they can function in a different way; checking for non-subscribed plates, as opposed to looking for tickets.

Same principle, but less work for drivers.
C / May 7, 2014 at 02:33 pm
This system is in Vancouver and the machines accept coins as well as the phone-in system and an app for smartphones. I prefer the app, as you can easily check to see how much parking you have left and top it up with a couple of clicks, and you get a text with 5 minutes to go (you also get the text with the phone in system but you have to call in to get more parking)
Drew replying to a comment from Jacob / May 7, 2014 at 02:56 pm
The article does not state its a test. Its states they are putting it in some Green P's and then expanding it to street parking.

YES I believe they should do testing as with any technology but that doesn't have to be at the consumers expense. This is not something brand new, other cities already provide this. Testing is done in a controlled environment then launch it for everyone. Otherwise we end up with another Presto, millions of dollars spent and its only in a few stations.
Don replying to a comment from Rafa / May 7, 2014 at 04:51 pm
.. try $150 if you park between 3pm and 6pm. Got one at 3.02pm last week. Contacted the city and was told that they will not cancel it because it was rush hour and I have to go to court.
Allan / June 16, 2014 at 11:38 pm
Now you can file a parking ticket online for a court date.

Other Cities: Montreal