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As one of Canada’s leading tourist destinations, the Municipality of Jasper knew that paid parking could be a significant new revenue source, but it did not want to invest in costly parking infrastructure, such as pay stations, which would require ongoing maintenance.
Before implementing its new digital solution, Jasper’s parking operations consisted of a couple of bylaw officers enforcing parking rules for accessible parking locations. Otherwise, parking was free because the town had no way to collect revenues. Residents essentially subsidized any costs related to parking through property taxes, while the millions of annual visitors paid nothing.
Working with HotSpot, a leading parking payments provider, on the technology and implementation, Jasper adopted a smartphone-first system for its bustling downtown, making it the first community in North America to cut out pay machines entirely. To transform parking from a drain to a revenue generator, HotSpot installed parking payment signage at no cost to the town. The signs outline two options for parkers: scan a QR code to pay via a digital wallet, such as Apple Pay, or download the HotSpot app to pay.
To succeed, the parking system needed buy-in from the municipal government and the community. The HotSpot team worked with the town throughout the engagement and deployment process, including at the policy level, to address objections and ensure a smooth program launch.
One of the greatest concerns was how people who didn’t have phones or preferred to use cash could pay for their parking. HotSpot worked with the municipality to create an alternative, pay-in-person option at the town hall. We also provided public relations and communications support to build awareness among citizens, local businesses and visitors about the new parking system to eliminate objections and answer questions.
Jasper launched the new digital parking program in the summer of 2021, and in the first two weeks since then, it has collected approximately 2,000 digital payments. Of those, 80% paid via QR code, and the other 20% through the app. Less than 20 people came into the town office to pay with cash. Complaints have been minimal, and parking revenues in just two and a half months are approaching $100,000.
This pilot project proves a no-cost, low-barrier option for smaller communities that allows them to maximize parking profits while eliminating capital investment.