Use your phone to pay for downtown parking and it can cost only pennies - InfoNews

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Use your phone to pay for downtown parking and it can cost only pennies

Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
July 14, 2019 - 7:00 AM

KELOWNA - Recent upgrades to the PayByPhone app currently allows Kelowna residents to pay only pennies to park downtown.

But it may not last.

“PayByPhone came out with a new feature, which is called Pay Until,” Dave Duncan, the city’s parking services manager told iNFOnews.ca. “You can put in the time you actually want to park until and it would charge you for that time. When they came up with that new feature, it kind of contradicted the minimum we have set. We’re working with them to, hopefully, offer shorter periods and analyze our true costs for each transaction.”

Prior to the change, the minimum charge for on-street parking either through the phone app or a pay station, was one hour for $1.25.

While being interviewed by iNFOnews.ca, Duncan punched in a time a few minutes later on his phone. It said he would be charged eight cents for about five minutes.

The reality is, however, the city loses money on such short term transactions.

The company supplying the phone app charges a transaction fee. Duncan would not say what that fee is currently but it used to be 25 cents and was added onto the cost when using the app. That meant, at that time, using a pay station would cost $1 for an hour but paying by phone would cost $1.25.

The city decided to absorb the transaction fee so the cost was the same either way.

In addition, credit card companies charge a flat rate of about 10 cents per transaction plus a percentage of the charge.

That means, the minimum cost to the city is about 35 cents.

Rather than tell PayByPhone to shut off the app in Kelowna, Duncan is trying to work out a solution so drivers can pay for shorter stays without the city losing money.

The app now also has a map feature so people parking don’t have to find a number on a sign or pay station to input their location, just click on the map.

It also allows people to add time without having to go back to their vehicle.

Since the system is licence plate based, drivers can relocate to other parking spaces to use up all the time they have paid for, Duncan said.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2019
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