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Paying Green P parking with cellphones being considered in Toronto

Rushing to feed the parking meter may soon be a thing of the past.

Pending council approval, a new technology that will allow drivers to pay for parking with cellphones could be applied to the 130 city-owned Green P parking lots and 18,000 on-street spaces.

Prior to parking, customers can create an account with the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) where they register their licence plates and payment information. They would then use their cellphone to inform the TPA of where their car is parked and the amount of parking time they require.

The driver will then receive a confirmation number instead of a paper ticket.

According to TPA president Lorne Persiko, parking enforcement officers can look at their own handheld devices to see who’s paid, regardless if they have a paper receipt on the dash or not.

“The beauty of the system is that when you’re running late or at a restaurant, you don’t have to rush anymore,” Persiko said. “The app will remind you that you’re running late and will allow you to add time.”

Persiko says they plan to roll out the new system in off-street lots late this summer/early fall. In 2015, it will be in place for Green P spots on the street.

Persiko says parking rates won’t be effected.

He also adds that the TPA hopes to create a function that allows a retailer to pay the extra parking time for customers as an incentive.

The current method of pay-and-display parking will still be available.

The proposal was adopted without amendment by the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday. The motion will be considered at city council on May 6.