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City clears up confusion around new Edmonton parking payment system: ‘no convenience fees’

The City of Edmonton is clearing up confusion surrounding user fees charged by a company that is taking over the city’s parking payment system. City officials stress there will not be any additional fees charged to users.

Earlier this month, the city announced it will switch from EPark to HotSpot for people paying for parking in Edmonton. The switch will take place on Monday.

However, confusions arose when some Edmontonians went to download the HotSpot app and noticed the company charges convenience fees to park.

Convenience fees are charged to some users with HotSpot parking.

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When downloading the HotSpot app, users are presented with three payment options. They can sign up for a yearly membership for $30 plus tax, a monthly membership, which is $3 per month plus tax, or they can choose to pay per use, which requires drivers to pay a convenience fee each time they park. Fees range from 20 cents to $2 each time users park, depending on the service and location, according to HotSpot.

On Friday morning, Jenny Albers with the City of Edmonton cleared up the confusion and said while convenience fees are an option for municipalities using HotSpot, Edmonton will not be charging them.

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“HotSpot has customizable features,” Albers explained. “Some of the municipalities do have the option for additional service fees, however, we won’t for Edmontonians.

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“There will be no convenience fees, no membership fees that Edmontonians will be paying for. That’s not a part of our contract with HotSpot. You’re just paying for parking how you’re paying for parking now.”

While the new mobile payment system launches city-wide on Monday, there is a two-week transition period until the app will be ready for download for Edmontonians. Albers said Edmontonians need to wait until May 15 to download the HotSpot app.

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“The HotSpot app right now is used in Edmonton by a smaller service provider, so that’s why it’s able to be downloaded right now and that’s where the messaging comes on the service fee,” she said.

“If they download it now they won’t be able to pay and that’s where there’s been some confusion happening.”

Information about payment methods is going up on all of the city’s EPark machines. Starting Monday, drivers will be able to pay for parking one of three ways: by scanning a QR code on the EPark machine, pay online, or pay at the EPark machine using a credit card or coins.

Starting May 15, the app will be available.

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Click to play video: 'City of Edmonton switching to new mobile parking payment system'

City of Edmonton switching to new mobile parking payment system

Anyone who currently has more than $25 in their MyEPark account will automatically be transitioned over to the HotSpot platform. The city said a two-week transition period is needed to get this done.

“They’ll be receiving an email that prompts them to reset their password in the HotSpot app during that two-week period so that they’re able to have their account all ready to go for May 15,” Albers said.

Anyone who has less than $25 remaining in their MyEPark account can fill out a form on the city’s website to request a refund. Users have until June 30 to do this.

The city made the decision to transition to HotSpot after feedback from customers. The new system is touted by the city as a simpler and faster tool.

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“My hope is it’s a better user interface and a better overall experience,” O-day-min Coun. Anne Stevenson said earlier this week.

“The team is really open to hearing from folks during the transition period. There will be some bumps as we adjust to something new. The overall hope is that during the transition it may be challenging, but the goal is for a better user experience and a more seamless process and a better app for the city.”

Edmonton began using EPark, which is run by Calgary Parking, in October 2015. The city said the branding on the EPark machines will not change.

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