Impark's "Park and Pay by Phone" System Introduced in Winnipeg

Winnipeg motorists can now use cellphones to take care of parking fees at more than 50 downtown lots run by Imperial Parking Canada. "It's the way technology is going," Richard Wishnowski, Impark's manager for Manitoba and Saskatchewan, said yesterday.
"If everybody paid by cellphone, we could eliminate the equipment at the locations. I don't think that will ever happen, but it truly is a nice thought."

To use the new system, motorists must have a credit card and set up an account with Impark. When a registered motorist pulls into a lot, they dial the lot's sign number and tell an automated call-handler where they are parking and for how long.

The parking bill is charged to the credit account along with a 35-cent transaction fee.

Cuts Time

impark.jpgImpark launched the system in Winnipeg last month, following a trial run in Calgary and Vancouver. Though it doesn't save drivers money, it cuts time spent at booth lineups and does away with handling parking bills, Impark claims.

"It's great in the winter," said an employee at Impark's Winnipeg office.

The Forks and Winnipeg's Urban Autopark firm, which manages other lots, are taking a close look at the cellular system.

Among its most popular features is text messaging, which permits Impark to inform drivers, via their cellphones, when their paid time is running out. More time can be added with another call.

Winnipeg's new municipal parking authority is eager to adopt the system, which is catching on in Canada and the U.S. after wide use in Europe. City hall won't introduce it, however, until commissionaires are equipped with hand-held monitors -- likely this summer.

The technology is catching on quickly, Impark says. "And with zero advertising, we're up to about 20 or 30 users a day now," Wishnowski said. "The downside is that not everybody has a cellphone.
Imperial Parking Canada Corporation
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