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Pay stations, not parking meters coming soon to Halifax streets

Click to play video: 'Halifax planning new way for residents to pay for parking' Halifax planning new way for residents to pay for parking
WATCH: It's been a year and a half since Halifax made major changes to parking. Jeremy Keefe explains – May 22, 2019

The Halifax Regional Municipality has decided to change the way they do parking, by removing some 1,400 parking meters and replacing them with around 240 pay stations.

Swedish-based Cale Systems won the request for proposal process with a bid of $3.5 million and an expected rollout of spring 2020.

“This is all part of an integrated parking solution,” explained spokesperson for the municipality, Maggie-Jane Spray.

“Making sure that all of our parking solutions, whether it be parking enforcement or on-street parking for residents, is all handled as part of one cohesive effort.”

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When implemented, drivers will enter their licence plate number and buy time from parking stations with cash, credit card or through online currencies such as Apple Pay and Android Pay.

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There will also be a mobile app similar to what many currently use with Fredericton-based HotSpot Parking.

HotSpot was brought in at the end of 2017, giving Haligonians their first chance to pay for parking digitally.

It also came with other benefits not available to those using coins, such as notifying users if their time was about to expire and allowing them to extend sessions.

“Our top priority is now — and will continue to be — delivering our members the highest quality service possible,” said HotSpot CEO Phillip Curley.

“We appreciate our many Halifax members who have reached out to us in support since yesterday.”

It’s a relationship the New Brunswick business says it always wanted to continue, but the recent RFP process didn’t allow them to communicate with HRM staff until it had been awarded — something that might have limited their ability to properly demonstrate their potential.

“Unlike other models, Hotspot operates at no cost to the city and is a revenue generator,” Curley explained.

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HotSpot operates on a subscription basis with most users paying about $20 per year.

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The new process will be on a pay-per-transaction model, meaning a yet unknown charge will be added on top of each parking purchase.

Curley says they’re hopeful that with the existing infrastructure they can remain in operation in the Nova Scotia capital.

“Halifax now has the ability to provide both options at no additional cost,” Curley said.

“We remain hopeful the city will allow us to continue providing our convenient, affordable, pay-by-phone solution to our nearly 40,000 regular members.”

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Prior to awarding the contract, Central Nova MP Sean Fraser wrote council a letter urging them to choose Pictou-based MacKay Meters instead of the overseas option.

In the end, HRM says the lesser cost won out.

“Going through the rigorous proposal process the Cale System scored higher overall at a lower price point,” explained Spray.

“The other top finalist for the proposal was about $4.3 million.”

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