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Monday, February 8, 2016

Parking goes mobile at the University of Windsor

The Windsor Star/Kelly Steele

The University of Windsor’s parking services office has made paying for parking a lot easier.

HonkMobile has officially launched its parking app at the University of Windsor’s Pay and Display lots. Students can simply download the app and pay from their phone in the comfort of their car or anywhere on campus.

Laurie Butler-Grondin, manager of parking services at the university, believes HonkMobile will help to alleviate stress on campus when it comes to parking.

“It’s a really cool application and just another way for students to pay for parking on our campus,” she said. “It’s an innovative way for students to pay for their parking from their phone rather than having to walk up to the machines and waiting in a line especially in winter.”

Dwayne Dawson, Executive Director of Operations with the City of Windsor said they are currently undertaking a Parking Sustainability Study to look at the possibility of implementing something similar to the university.

“We recognize today that people are not walking around with their pockets filled with quarters, toonie and loonies so we need to make thing easier,” he said. “At the same time we also need to understand that not everyone has access to a good phone, so that’s the reason for the study. To see what will work for everyone.”

Getting started is simple, you download the app, add your credit card and licence plate information. When you park your car, open the app, select the parking lot zone and select the amount of time you want to park for and then tap the pay button. HonkMobile sends alerts 15 minutes before a metered time expires, giving you the chance to pay for additional time remotely. The app notifies the university’s parking enforcement officers when a car has paid to park.

“You bring up the app it shows you what zone you are in,” said Mia Brown, Director of Operations with HonkMobile. “You just select how long you want, it sends you the receipt and it notifies our parking enforcement officers that you’ve paid.”

The app offers the convenience of not having to park your car, walk to the meter, fiddle for change, grab the ticket and put it on your dashboard. 

“There is a safety component as well,” Brown said. “It’s great not having to stand alone in the dark  with your wallet open on campus or off.” 

Currently universities are the biggest supporters of the app with seven including Conestoga College and Sir Wilfred Laurier jumping on board. But others are seeing the benefits, the VIA station in Windsor has implemented it and Oshawa and Whitby are using it in a few of their lots.

“It’s ease and convenience and top up feature is major,” Brown said.”That’s been huge. It avoids the chance of a ticket.”

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