Pay-by-phone parking system dials up interest at Vernon council

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VERNON - The idea of introducing a pay-by-phone option for parking in downtown Vernon is getting early support from politicians.

The Downtown Vernon Association pitched the idea — which would allow people to purchase time at the meter using their cell phone — at a Vernon council meeting Monday, Feb. 22.

“It just adds a convenient element that we currently can’t offer,” the association’s executive director Lara Konkin said.

Customers would no longer have to carry change, and could easily add more time to the meter without having to get up from the table or leave in the middle of an appointment, Konkin said. Those using the App would also be notified before the meter expires, helping to reduce the frustration of getting a parking ticket, she said.

Customers would be charged a 25 cent fee for each transaction, and the city would be responsible for roughly $5,000 in set up costs.

While Coun. Dalvir Nahal recounted frustrations using the system elsewhere, Coun. Brian Quiring has tried the app and calls it ‘one of the slickest things you can own.’ He likes that you don’t have to over-buy if you’re not sure how much time you’ll need, because you can add more as needed, wherever you are.

“Even with the 25 cent transaction fee I’m sure you’re spending less time on parking,” Quiring said.

Coun. Catherine Lord said it was too bad money would have to leave the community to pay the out of town software company, but feels the convenience will be worth it.

“Anything that makes it easier for our residents to use our parking meters is a good thing,” Lord said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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