Just over a year ago, back in March of 2006 I was asked by then Telecommunications Minister Michael Scott to develop a few ideas of how the Telecommunications Ministry could promote collaboration between Ministries to achieve larger solutions to some of the issues we face. The following is an exerpt from the report I compiled and presented to him and the directors of his department.
Finding a parking space in town has become a horrendous nightmare. Trying to simply find a traffic spot is very difficult and even though we use scratch based systems, it does not solve our problems. It is commonplace where people will come early to get the best parking spots and spend a good deal of time during the day running back to their car to scratch new tickets to keep their spot.
The sheer cost lost in time for individuals willing to do this as well as the dedication of traffic officers to assign tickets costs our industry a great deal. On top of this we have difficulties chasing offenders to pay their parking fines and dedicate court time to forcing them to do so.
Perhaps a good solution would be to introduce an RFID (wireless identification transmitter) based system throughout town and migrate to designating certain specialized parking zones dedicated to supporting it. Such a solution may likely take the strain off of marking in town and allow us to change from our present scratch book and parking ticket based scheme to one that is more flexible.
Through such a system we could digitally track how long people park in certain zones, we could create a scheme that encourages people to park for short durations but is flexible to still allow them to park for long duration as well.
For example, key parking spots could start off at a rate of $1 per half hour and for every half hour you stay in the spot the price increases by say 25 cents (or some other reasonable number). I have given an example fee structure shown below.
Such a system would allow those who wish to pay more for great spots to pay a premium bringing in better direct revenue for government while encouraging others to park for short duration. It would remove the limitations of having to hand out parking tickets and those who sign up could be billed electronically with invoices being provided online as well as through mail to make collection easier. It would eliminate the wasteful nature of hiring traffic officers and subsequently chasing parking offenders to pay their fines and appear in court.