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City shops for mobile app to let you pay for parking with your phone

Anyone want to buy ad space on the back of paper parking slips dispensed by those solar-powered parking machines downtown?
The Sault currently has 19 pay-and-display parking machines. It agreed Monday to buy 20 more. David Helwig/SooToday

The City of Sault Ste. Marie is preparing to install a mobile-phone payment option on its solar-powered pay-and-display parking machines downtown.

City officials have had initial discussions with Honk Mobile, a Toronto-based app and e-commerce website that lets drivers search for, reserve, pay for and top up parking spots from anywhere.

But Tom Vair, the city's deputy chief administrative officer for community development and enterprise services, says other vendors offer parking apps and a request for proposals will be issued.

The Sault currently has 19 pay-and-display units, all in the core area and all manufactured by J.J. MacKay Canada Ltd. of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

Last night, City Council approved buying an additional 20 units for $151,279.

Sam Piraino, manager of transit and parking, recommended that the purchase be single-sourced to ensure standardization and compatibility with existing equipment and services.

Adding a mobile phone payment option to the units would not require additional investment from the city as the cost of mobile solutions is usually covered by a service charge, Piraino said.

At the request of Ward 3 Councillor Matthew Shoemaker, the city is also looking into selling advertising space on the back of paper parking slips dispensed by pay-and-display machines. 

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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