No more searching for coins curbside with Halifax's new parking app

Halifax launched a new parking program Monday, which allows people to pay for downtown parking through an app on their phones.

People can now download HotSpot and get a text when their parking meter is about to expire

The new mobile option at Halifax parking meters launched Dec. 4. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

People in Halifax now have the option of using credit cards at parking meters as well as receiving texts when their time is up.

Halifax launched a new parking app Monday that gives people more ways to manage their parking-meter use. 

The city's parking meters still accept coins but people can also pay a monthly or annual fee to use the phone application HotSpot to access more options.

The app allows people to pay more to extend their parking time and drivers who decide to leave their space early can be refunded the time they didn't use. 

The service costs $2 per month or $20 a year. 

The parking meter app allows people to pay by credit card. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

The app, developed by a Fredericton company, is already used in Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, Charlottetown, and Bridgewater, N.S. People who have the app can use it in any of those places.  

Other Canadian cities offer similar free parking apps: Calgary, for example, uses My Parking, while in Vancouver it is PayByPhone.

The Waterfront Development Corp. plans to start using HotSpot at its downtown Halifax lots as well, said a statement from the city. The municipality had initially planned to activate the program this summer

HotSpot fee allows it to recover costs

Halifax picked the HotSpot app in order to keep the service "cost neutral" for the municipality, spokesman Nick Ritcey said.

"HotSpot pays 100 per cent of the money generated from the parking session to the municipality. The vendor recovers its costs through the annual subscription fee," he said in an email Monday.

He said the agreement also allows the municipality to keep parking rates the same for mobile payment and coin payment.

"I can't speak to mobile parking payment arrangements in other cities, but all vendors would have a revenue model, so if they're not making money on app subscriptions, they are likely being paid either a flat rate or on a per transaction basis from that city/municipality," Ritcey said in the email.

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