When I talk about the vision to make Kingston a smart and livable 21st century city, people sometimes ask me what I mean by a “smart city”. Well, one of the most important ways to make Kingston a “smart city” is to harness new technology that will improve services for our residents. A great example is this week’s launch of a new way to pay for downtown parking, using only your smartphone!
Most of us can probably remember times we’ve been huddled in front of a parking payment machine on a cold, snowy day, fumbling to insert a credit card, push the right buttons and wait for what seems like an eternity while the machine prints out a ticket to put on the car dashboard. Or what about that time you were eating at a restaurant or sitting in a waiting room at the doctor’s office and had to rush out to the machine to top up your payment? Well, now you can pay for parking at any downtown parking lot in Kingston from your smartphone using the Honk Mobile App.
I downloaded the app on my smartphone this morning and it’s very easy to use. Once you open up the app you just sign up for an account and enter your vehicle and credit card info. The app lists all the parking lots in the downtown, so all you have to do from this point on is select the lot where you want to park and choose how much to time you want to buy. It’s convenient, it’s fast and it’s easy – exactly how services in a smart city should be.
Right now the Honk Mobile App can only be used for parking lots in the downtown so you still need to use payment machines for on-street parking. However, if all goes well with this new way of paying by smartphone, I’m hopeful that soon this option will be available everywhere in downtown Kingston.