Red Deer’s new downtown parking system HotSpot was launched on Monday.
Parking meters and older pay stations are no longer in service, and customers must now use a free mobile app, or a fast tap sign featuring a quick scan code, for parking sessions in on-street stalls and city-owned lots.
In October there will also be 21 new pay stations offering multiple payment options including coins, Visa, MasterCard, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Interac tap. People with funds remaining on smart parking cards will also be able to use the cards at pay stations until the funds are depleted.
Amy Fengstad, acting manager of inspections and licensing with the city, said people will have to use the app or the QR code until the pay stations are installed.
The fast tap signs have information about the app as well as the quick scan code, and are located every 25 metres where there is paid parking.
She said there won’t be enforcement during the grace period to let drivers adjust to the new parking system.
“We know it’s a big change. We know people aren’t necessarily comfortable with apps,” Fengstad, adding that ambassadors are patrolling the streets to help those who have parking questions.
She said the new parking system is a common trend across many municipalities and some charge a fee or require a paid membership to use the app, but Red Deer does not.
“There is no membership for what the city requires. It’s a free app to download.”
She said using the app or the quick scan code is the easiest way to pay, and if people are concerned about using their credit cards they can use pre-paid Visa or MasterCard gift cards.
“Visit us downtown, or give us a call, and we can definitely help with any concerns people may have,” Fengstad said.
A map of pay station locations will be available in the HotSpot app and at www.reddeer.ca/parkingproject. There will be 19 pay stations downtown and two near the hospital.
With the app, motorists can pay for and extend parking sessions from a mobile device. They can avoid tickets with auto-alerts, and save money by refunding unfinished parking sessions.
Parking sessions that are started using a QR code, or at a pay station, cannot be extended nor cancelled and refunds are not available.
More information, including answers to frequently asked questions and instructional videos, is available at www.reddeer.ca/parking.
Payment to park is required on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with free parking available evenings, weekends and on statutory holidays.