You'll soon be able to pay for parking in Halifax with your phone

The municipality just issued a request for proposals for a so-called mobile parking payment service.

Municipality issues request for proposals for so-called mobile parking payment service

The new mobile payment option will be online this summer. (Preston Mulligan/CBC)

Wouldn't it be nice to get a text message from the municipality reminding you that your parking meter is about to expire?

And better yet, what if you could feed that meter with a simple swipe on your phone?

Get ready for mobile payment parking in Halifax.

On Monday morning the municipality issued a request for proposals for a so-called mobile parking payment service.

Others cities on board already

It's a service that already exists in many Canadian cities and now it's coming here.

Some time this summer (the municipality doesn't know exactly when) you'll be able to pull up to one of the 1,758 parking meters in Halifax and Dartmouth and have a choice: drop in some coins or pull out your phone.

The winner of the tender is required to set up an app you download and enter your credit card and a few details about your car, such as the make and licence plate number.

After the initial set up, you'll only have tap the meter number into the app and you're paid up.

'It won't be cheaper'

It's convenient, but it comes at a higher price.

"It won't be cheaper for the parkers, in fact it'll be a little more expensive," said Dave McCusker, Halifax's parking strategy co-ordinator.

"There is a service fee that you'll have to pay in addition to your meter rates. But for us it'll be a lot more efficient in collecting money."

The municipality expects the convenience factor will outweigh the added cost.

"And hopefully for the customers they'll appreciate the convenience of not fishing around for coins when they have to park," McCusker said.

$4.37M over 3 years

The municipality estimates its new "parking technology initiatives" will cost about $4.37 million over a three-year period.

McCuskers said it's likely the added convenience of being able to "feed the meter" remotely with your smartphone will result in fewer parking tickets and less revenue for the municipality.

"That's no concern at all for us," he said. "We don't really plan based on ticket revenue. That's just a method that we use to get good compliance. So if our ticket revenue goes down to zero, we're happy with that."

The new mobile payment option will be online this summer.

By spring of 2018, the municipality plans to install pay stations on streets in downtown Halifax and Dartmouth where drivers can pay for parking with credit cards.

The tender closes on April 7.

About the Author

Preston Mulligan


Preston Mulligan has been a reporter in the Maritimes for more than 20 years. Along with his reporting gig, he also hosts CBC Radio's Sunday phone-in show, Maritime Connection.