Update: see previous posts – September 23, 2011 City of Toronto Imposes a $12.75 Fixed Fine on Parking Tickets Received/Challenged/Lost, September 20, 2011 Toronto to Impose Additional Surcharge of $12.75 Added-On Every Parking Ticket (When Motorist Challenges Ticket and Loses), June 16, 2011 The City of Toronto Considers Introducing a $12.75 Surcharge on Parking Tickets, June 13, 2011 City of Toronto Parking Tickets Can be Disputed Online as of September, 2011
On September 21, 2011 36 Toronto City Councillors voted in favour of applying an additional $12.75 “fixed fine” to all those parking fines where the motorist challenged the ticket in court and lost. Before the “Implementation of a Fixed Fine System for Parking Tickets” was voted on, City Councillor Karen Stintz added an amendment to the motion that stated the following ” The appropriate staff be requested to report to the Government Management Committee on the feasibility of paying for parking by cell phone”. The amendment was adopted and carried, as was the original motion (see amendment below).
The Toronto Parking Authority has been contemplating this concept for a year now.
What councillor Stintz raised is not new, other Canadian cities – Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg have had the “pay for parking by cellphone” for several years now, to see if it is financially feasible. Paying for parking by cellphone or cell pay is available in cities across North America and in Europe. If it was in place in Toronto, a parking enforcement officer or a police officer before issuing a parking ticket could simply access a database of users to confirm and verify who has exceeded their parking time limit.
Imagine the pleasure of enjoying a latte at your local coffee shop and being able to buy more time on the parking meter from the comfort of your seat.
This week, Councillor Karen Stintz succeeded in giving it an extra push when City Council backed her motion for a report on the feasibility of cell pay here.
“We have continued to raise parking fines and be more aggressive on the parking issue,” she said after the vote.
“I think it’s also time for us to look at how we can make it easier for the average person to comply with the parking [rules] and pay what they need to pay.”
Ms. Stintz made an impassioned plea for many a frustrated driver in her midtown ward.
“[They] just want to duck in for a coffee or a dry cleaning, perhaps say hello to a neighbour or a friend, and lo and behold they are not on the street but five minutes before they receive a parking ticket.”
Before long, cellphones will be used to buy snacks from a vending machine and use public transit — it makes sense for parking to be in the mix, too, she said. Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver have had cell pay for several years.
“I’ve met with the parking authority and there’s not a lot of enthusiasm for this initiative, but I’ve also had people come to me and say they could pilot it with the existing technology that the parking authority has,” Ms. Stintz said.
“It may not grow our revenue base, but it is a significance convenience for the person who is using the service.”
The system is relatively simple: drivers pre-register, call the phone number displayed on the meter and key in a number associated with the spot and the amount of time being bought.
Enforcement officers can access a database of users via handheld units, usually linked to licence plates, and know how much time the vehicle has left.
The most enticing part is that users can also buy more time — provided they are not exceeding the allowable time to park — via cellphone.
Gwyn Thomas, the TPA president, says they are seriously looking at cell pay, but “there’s a number of things we need to examine from a business case financially.”
Several companies provide the service, and the parking authority has met with most of them. It is now studying whether it can set up the system itself to save money.
Mr. Thomas would not guess how soon cell pay could be available.
- City Council adopted this item on September 21, 2011 with amendments.
- This item was considered by Government Management Committee on September 15, 2011 and was adopted with amendments. It will be considered by City Council on September 21, 2011.
|Implementation of a Fixed Fine System for Parking Tickets|
|Background Information (Committee)|
|(June 13, 2011) Staff Report – Implementation of a Fixed Fine System for Parking Tickets|
|Communications (City Council)|
|(September 18, 2011) E-mail from Josef Kates (CC.Supp.GM7.9.8)|
|Motions (City Council)|
|Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Karen Stintz (Carried)|
The appropriate staff be requested to report to the Government Management Committee on the feasibility of paying for parking by cell phone.
Motion to Adopt Item as Amended (Carried)
|9a||Further Report on the Implementation of a Fixed Fine System for Parking Tickets|
|Background Information (Committee)|
|(August 30, 2011) Staff Report – Further Report on the Implementation of a Fixed Fine System for Parking Tickets|
|(June 27, 2011) E-mail from David Mitchelson (GM.Main.GM7.9.1)|
(June 28, 2011) E-mail from Presentation from Josef Kates (GM.Main.GM7.9.2)
(June 29, 2011) E-mail from James Whyte (GM.Main.GM7.9.3)
(September 9, 2011) E-mail from Nick Iozzo (GM.Supp.GM7.9.4)
(September 9, 2011) E-mail from Ken Wood (GM.Supp.GM7.9.5)
(September 11, 2011) E-mail from Josef Kates (GM.Supp.GM7.9.6)
(September 7, 2011) E-mail from Carole St. Laurent (GM.Supp.GM7.9.7)