New parking app lets users pay by smartphone

January 7, 2015

The meeting is running late and you’re worried that the parking meter will run out? Well you can relax now by adding more time and avoiding that ticket by using the new parking smartphone app introduced by Western’s parking and visitor services.

The app was developed by HonkMobile and is available in a number of locations in Canada and the United States. It has become increasingly popular in Ontario, and Western’s parking lots are the first to use it in London. The app also featured on CBC’s business entrepreneurs’ show, Dragons’ Den.

Currently being run as a pilot project, the app is only available at Weldon Library, Support Services building and Medical Sciences building parking lots.

According to Mark Van Den Bossche, manager of parking and visitor services at Western, the use of the app will be expanded to other lots on campus, depending on the success of the pilot.

The app was introduced in November last year and will run until April, after which a decision will be made about its future over the summer break.

“Its been used about 60 times - mostly in the Weldon library lot, which I’m assuming are mostly students. They find it very convenient to not have to go back to the car and put a piece of paper in,” Van Den Bossche said.

The app is free and can be downloaded directly on iPhones. For all other smartphones, there is a download option available on HonkMobile’s website. The app requires the user’s account, vehicle and credit card information to process payments.

After entering and parking in a lot, the app user can enter the zone and parking time on their phones and the payment is processed. The machines in the parking lot provide the user with the zone they are parked in. The app then sends reminders 15 minutes before the parking time expires and users have the option to add more time. The user is allowed to extend the parking time to as long as the parking lot’s hours of operation allow.

“That’s it, nothing goes in your window — you just walk away,” Van Den Bossche said.

Source: The Gazette, January 7, 2015