It may soon be easier to pay for your parking in Edmonton – especially for those who rely more heavily on their debit and credit cards over cold, hard coinage.
The city is considering replacing 3,300 parking meters with new parking machines that would allow drivers to pay using their card, or to set up an account and pay via virtual pay station using their smartphone. Each machine would cover a whole city block.
But not to worry – the new machines will still accept coins as well.
The new meters would be a big step in terms of modernizing the city, said Jim Taylor with the Downtown Business Association.
“We're woefully behind the other cities,” he said. Calgary has had similar, solar-powered machines since 2007.
“Edmontonians are just tired of walking around with loonies and toonies bulging their pockets, and feeding meters and having coins in their car that might prompt someone to break their window to break in,” Taylor added.
The city has been testing the meters in select downtown locations since June 2013. So far, Edmontontonians seem in favour of the new technology.
“We're receiving 80 per cent customer satisfaction,” said said Bohdan Maslo, the city’s director of parking management.
“They like this new technology, they like the convenience of paying by coin, credit card or account,” he added.
That sentiment was largely echoed by people CBC News spoke with.
“A lot of times the only place you can get is a meter, but it would be more convenient to use a credit card,” said Jade Martinez.
“We never have coins, no one pays with money anymore,” seconded Martin Flanagan.
Some, however, seemed more skeptical.
“It's good, but how much [is it] costing?” asked Sadhu Singh.
The total cost for the proposed switch over is estimated to be $12 million – however, the city says it hopes to recoup the initial cost within four years.
City council will meet to discuss the plan next week.