Saint John street parking moves from paper to plate

The day of pay-and-display parking is drawing to a close in Saint John as city hall moves parking enforcement to the cloud.

City tries out 6 meters that will require licence plate numbers and won't provide paper slip for dash

The Saint John Parking Commission will begin the move to a paperless 'pay by plate' system this year. (CBC)

The day of pay-and-display parking is drawing to a close in Saint John as city hall moves parking enforcement to the cloud.

The new system, called "pay by plate" will be paperless.

No longer will drivers have to pull parking slips out of meters after they pay and stick them on their dashboards. 

Instead, they'll key in their licence plate numbers when they pay for parking, says Ian MacKinnon, CEO of Saint John Transit and Parking.  

Ian MacKinnon, CEO of Saint John Parking, says the new system will be more efficient. (CBC)

The first six meters are about to be purchased and will be installed for what MacKinnon called a pilot phase, at locations yet to be determined.

"We're in the procurement process for new meters," MacKinnon said. "We don't want to rush this in, so we'll start slow."

Data from each parking-time purchase will be uploaded to the internet. Enforcement officers will be equipped with hand-held scanners, which they'll point at car licence plates as they walk past.

"It will tell the tale on how long that car has been there, if it's paid for parking, if there's time left on the payment of parking," said MacKinnon. "It will know what the situation is."

Patrol plan on hold

An earlier plan to patrol streets from a vehicle specially equipped with high-speed licence plate scanners has been shelved for now.

The devices are now widely used by police forces to look for stolen vehicles and drivers who've been suspended or committed other infractions, but MacKinnon said that with current bylaws there are "question marks around enforceability."

He said the city may return to that project later in 2018.

"It's a work in progress," he said.