How to find free (and cheap) parking spots in Toronto
Parking in the city is a constant headache. Finding a parking spot that isn't miles away from where you are going is like winning on a scratch ticket and getting one that is free without a time limit is hitting the jackpot. But the reality is that we find ourselves circling the streets before waving the white flag and entering a paid lot which can totally ruin your day. Toronto is filled with free parking spots but how many of them are you even aware of? If only there was a way to easily see them all! Yes my friends, there is an app for that!
Toronto Parking Finder - a new app that just hit the Google Play store, aims to equip Toronto Android smartphone users with the information they need to stop paying through the nose to park their car.
Behind Toronto Street Parking Finder are three independent developers all of whom are graduates from Ryerson. The team, which goes by the name ForageFox, created the app out of their personal frustration with finding and paying for parking around the city. In looking at the parking apps out there, they saw a gap in providing information around free street parking. There are many Green P and private lot apps out there for Toronto, thirty-five when you search for "Toronto Parking" in the Google Play store, but none focus on the free parking opportunities around the city.
Toronto Street Parking Finder is a dead simple, well-designed Android app which let's you find the free or cheapest parking on a street near you with one tap. The app gets its information from permit data direct from the City of Toronto. It currently has over 4,000 different parking spots (free and metered) in the downtown area in its database.
Outside of showing you a map of parking spots nearby, the app also comes with some neat features. You can set the radius of your search results, get directions to the parking spot you selected and can even plan ahead by entering your time, date and location. As a bonus, the app also has a timer which you can set to help remind you of when you need to go back and fill up the meter, or worse, move your car.
The app is available as both a free lite version and a premium version at $2.99. The premium version removes ads and provides color-coding of parking spots on the map for easier price comparison. At $2.99, the premium version of the app is among the highest in the Toronto Parking apps in the Google Play store - of which most are either free or $0.99.
Aydin Yuce, one of the three co-founders behind the app, told me that users of the premium version also benefit from updates and new features faster than those who have the free app. So if you are one of those people who need to have things first than perhaps the paid app is for you otherwise the free version really does the trick.
Yuce and his team intend to release an update in the next few weeks which add Green P information to the app to round it out and allow them to further compete in this space. They also plan to release an iOS and possibly a Windows and BlackBerry version of the app depending on the success they see on Android. You can download both versions of the Android app from the Google Play store.
Have a parking app you can't live without on your smartphone? Let us know in the comments below.