At an announcement on Wednesday June 6, Mayor Brocanier said that in 2013, when parking meters returned to King Street, there were critics who wanted meters that could accept credit cards. But at that time, technology for that was not reliable. But now, credit cards are accepted at all paid parking locations in Cobourg – metered or otherwise. By integrating with the Town’s parking management software, HonkMobile’s software allows anyone to pay by credit card and even to top up their payment remotely. At a cost of 35c per transaction, there is now no excuse to not be able to pay. If you add the Honkmobile app to your phone, you can pay for parking in 10 locations in Cobourg – 9 of these are operated by the town and the 10th is the VIA parking lot.
Since HonkMobile partners with 2000 locations in Southern Ontario – from Kingston to Niagara – you can use their service in many of the towns you are likely to visit. They provide this service to about 650 private lots in Toronto although the City of Toronto has their own system.
The way it works is that you download the app (android or iPhone) then add your credit card (very easy) and plate number or even several credit cards and plate numbers. Once that is done, when you go into the app, your phone knows where it is and shows a list of nearby parking “zones”. Choose the one you want and pay for the time you want. Then when the parking enforcement officer comes by, even if the parking meter says “expired”, he/she will look for your licence number on their handheld device and act on what it indicates. If you have paid via HonkMobile, it will show your status.
The amounts charged by the Town are not changed so there is no cost to the Town but it does cost 35 cents per transaction for users.
The project was done by Town employee René Champagne and she coordinated the integration of the HonkMobile software with the Town’s AIMS software (details on AIMS here). Integration means that only one screen needs to be looked at to see vehicle status. The system has had a short trial but there were no bugs found – it worked well. At the announcement, as well as Mia Brown the HonkMobile representative, Mayor Gil Brocanier, Councillor Debra McCarthy and René, the three current parking “people” were also there (see photo above).
At left is an image showing what a typical HonkMobile screen looks like (click to enlarge). To get the app, go to the Apple App Store or Android’s Google Play or go to the HonkMobile web site here.