Online payment company adding parking meters

Imagine driving downtown while your passenger sees all the parking spots available on his or her phone.
You get to the spot, pay your parking meter fee, and at the same time pay admission to the movie or museum you planned to see, all from your cellular phone.

Much of this is now possible in several North American cities, thanks to a Montreal company.

The online payment company AlertPay, based in the Côte des Neiges/ Notre Dame de Grâce borough, announced yesterday an agreement with the Calgary-based company New Parking to supply a Web-based payment system for parking meters.

New Parking provides parking payment systems for meters in Lethbridge, Alta., Saskatoon, Sask., and West Palm Beach, Fla., where drivers call a phone number and punch in a code to pay for their parking. The agreement will allow AlertPay to add on its mobile Web payment services so drivers can pay through the Web or a phone application.

As a result of the agreement, AlertPay will serve five North American cities in the next two years, and expects to see $30 million in mobile payments in the next two years.

Mark Sibthorpe, the director of parking operations for AlertPay, said the company is also conducting a pilot project to marry mobile parking payments with local businesses.

"A driver can pay with their cell phone, and then go to a merchant and have their parking validated by that merchant," he said. "We know where they're parking based on GPS, so we can then offer coupons, or brochures, or items of interest that the museum wants you to know about, and you can make a payment right there."

Many cities may not have the technology on their parking meter systems to allow users to see what parking spots are available, but most other uses of the applications are easy to implement, Sibthorpe said.

Bérengère Thériault, a spokesperson for Stationnement de Montréal, said the private not-for-profit company that manages Montreal's parking meters is working on a way to have mobile payments available for meters here. She said the system will be implemented by the end of the year.

Sibthorpe said the company is in discussion with several cities in Quebec, and across North America, to offer the service.

AlertPay has more than 4 million members and offers its services in more than 190 countries.
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