An innovative new app, HonkMobile, is allowing anyone parking at UBC to pay for their parking spot on their phone, without the need to go to a paystation or display a ticket.
The app covers all 7,000 spots on campus, including Health Sciences Parkade for access to UBC hospital and the West Parkade where many people park for Wreck Beach.
Users simply sign up, then when it comes time to park, just select the length of time they want to park and pay automatically using a pre-registered payment card.
Unlike the usual one-hour parking periods, HonkMobile gives you the option for much shorter stays, even as short as 10 minutes.
21st century parking
The app was created by entrepreneur Michael Back, who wanted to bring Canada’s outdated parking industry “into the 21st century” in terms of technology and payments.
HonkMobile was featured on Dragon’s Den two years ago and has gone from strength to strength since then – perhaps because it appeals to operators and consumers alike.
“Honk uncovers the mystery behind consumer behaviour and helps to decrease maintenance costs for parking operators,” Mia Brown, Director of Operations, told Daily Hive in an email. “For consumers, HonkMobile is a godsend.”
According to Brown, the app helps people avoid parking tickets, by texting the user when there’s only 15 minutes left on the clock and allowing them to add time from their phone.
Meanwhile, parking operators are charged a HonkMobile convenience fee (typically $0.25 to $0.35 per transaction) and in exchange, get a whole host of parking data to analyze. Brown says the operators have the option of absorbing the convenience fee or, as at UBC, passing it on the app user, but base parking prices are not affected.
Interestingly, the app also allows users to list their own parking spots and earn money from a space themselves.
HonkMobile is already being used in around 700 places across Canada and the US – and Vancouver is ripe for expansion, says Brown.
“We hope to be the single most popular mobile payments app in Vancouver,” said Brown. “The world is our oyster.”