New Brunswick

Saint John moves to online parking passes

HotSpot app will allow residents in some neighbourhoods to buy parking passes online.

Residents in South Central Peninsula can now purchase resident passes online

The on-street parking app will be availa le to residents of the south central peninsula, which includes the south end, Waterloo Village and uptown neighbourhoods. (CBC)

The City of Saint John will now allow some residents to buy residential parking permits online.

Residents of the south central peninsula, which includes the south end, Waterloo Village and uptown neighbourhoods, can now buy permits through the HotSpot app.

Previously, the only way to buy permits had been in person at Saint John City Hall.

Marc Dionne, the general manager of the Saint John Parking Commission, said the move to online has been requested for some time.

"If I go back historically, almost every person that has come into City Hall to talk to the parking commission has asked for the ability to purchase online," said Dionne.

Still, Dionne assured residents that people will not be forced to go online for parking if they prefer in person transactions.

"If you want to come in and you're comfortable doing that, we encourage people to do so," said Dionne. 

"We've really heard from the public that they want the ability to purchase this at their home, not have to come in or get away from work or rush during lunch, and now they have that option."

Data collection and use

Dionne said there's no cost to use the app for permit parking.

The app will need to collect some information such as the person's name, pictures of vehicle registration and a utility bill or lease agreement to prove residence in the south central peninsula.

The app will also collect some data about parking habits that the city can use later.

"We'll find out better where people are parking, how long they're parking for, whether the permits are a full year or a partial year," said Dionne. 

"We never had the ability to collect any data in the past. So now using this going forward, it'll help us make more educated decisions and improve things."

The move online will also allow the city to notify people about snow removal or street maintenance when parking may be affected.

"Oftentimes, we'll hear from the public, 'Well, I wasn't aware,'" Dionne of parking bans. 

"Now, at least for the citizens that are using this application, we will have their email address. And if something comes up, we can just push a quick email to them and they'll be notified right away."

Dionne said convenience was the main push behind the online option, but he admitted there may be a reduction in pass abuse as a side-effect.

"People would hand off their placards to friends or maybe someone living outside the city or someone moves that has a placard and hands it off to another person," said Dionne. 

"it's a side-benefit of stepping into this new platform."

With files from Information Morning Saint John

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