When it comes to street parking, the Winnipeg Parking Authority wants motorists to keep their loonies in their pocket and use their smartphones instead.
The Winnipeg Parking Authority is offering a new incentive to encourage the use of the smartphone app that allows drivers to pay for parking station charges after creating an account with a credit card: the WPA is now covering the cost of the related 25-cent service charge.
"It’s about a balance and providing convenience to our customers," said Colin Stewart, the WPA policy analyst.
While the WPA says the PayByPhone app is used about 40,000 times a month, Stewart said there are two million parking meter transactions every year, and that adds up to a lot of paper receipts printed annually.
Stewart said the expected savings in paper costs is projected to cover the additional cost of absorbing the service charge.
"On a per transaction basis (printing one receipt) is not very expensive, but... that adds up pretty quickly," Stewart said.
The WPA began using the mobile payment app in 2008.
Stewart said the proliferation of the $1 and $2 coins creates the impression it’s quicker to dip into your pocket to pay.
The WPA says benefits of the PayByPhone app includes having parking reminders sent directly to the driver’s phone when the time is running out, and the ability to "plug the meter" from wherever you happen to be.
Drivers can use the app in dozens of cities across Canada and the U.S., participating colleges and universities, Australia and New Zealand.
As a further incentive, the WPA is offering motorists who download the app a chance to win several prizes, including an Apple Watch, tickets to an NHL Jets came, a $50 Manitoba Restaurant Association gift card and several $10 coffee gift cards.
Details on the WPA contest can be found at: wfp.to/parkandwin
The free ParkByPhone app can be downloaded from the Apple or Google app stores.
Details on how the app works, and in which locations, can be found at: www.paybyphone.com