Council to consider changes to Kingston’s Pay and Display parking meters

City of Kingston Pay and Display parking meters, like this one on Barrie Street, may soon be getting a major facelift, as city councillors are set to debate some significant changes to the machinery. Photo by Dylan Chenier.

This coming Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, Kingston City Council will vote on a pair of changes to the city’s Pay and Display parking infrastructure.

One item will see councillors debate whether or not to replace up to 50 of the city’s existing parking meters in favour of a new contract with Precise Parklink Inc. (Precise). The contract is expected to cost the City $239,516 for the installation of the new machines. 

According to a staff report, which is circulating ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, “The City currently has 208 Pay and Display machines, with some of these now reaching their life expectancy and requiring replacement.” Staff are hoping to install between 28 and 50 new units within the next two years, with the first order consisting of a minimum of 28 new machines. “The remainder of the units will be over the course of a two-year period at the discretion of the City of Kingston,” the report notes. Each new unit will replace an existing Pay and Display device. 

Before selecting Precise as the preferred provider, the City conducted a public request for proposals (RFP), with J.J. MacKay Canada Ltd. submitting the only other bid. The staff report states that Precise scored 92.1 in accordance with the RFP’s five-point evaluation criteria, compared to J.J. MacKay Canada Ltd.’s 85.3. In terms of overall cost, Precise’s bid came in at $31,256 more than that of its competitor. However, the amount of the preferred bid is still under the City’s projected budget of $252,000 for the project.

In terms of existing infrastructure, the City currently uses parking meters manufactured by Cale. The report states that the units provided by Precise will be the newest Cale models, meaning there will be no need for updates or additional system implementation. 

The second possible change councillors will consider Tuesday night is an option to retrofit 180 of the City’s existing Pay and Display parking meters in order to add contactless payment options to the units. In a separate report coming before Council, staff are recommending that Precise Parklink Inc. also be awarded a $383,040 contract to carry out the installation of the new equipment. 

If approved, the move would give additional payment options for those using on-street parking. Most of the City’s existing machinery currently accepts cash and physical cards; contactless payment options would allow customers to tap their credit and debit cards or use other methods such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. 

According to the report, the move is necessary to ensure the City’s infrastructure is in line with industry standards. “All unattended cardholder-activated terminals (UCAT), such as our parking terminals, must be Europay, Mastercard, and Visa-enabled (EMV) by October 2022. EMV is a payment method based on a technical standard for smart payment cards and for payment terminals and automated teller machines which can accept them.” 

The report notes that Precise was the only bidder for the retrofitting, with its bid coming in over budget in part due to inflation as well as to changes in installation standards. However, staff did budget for contingency, meaning the City has adequate funds in its capital accounts to cover the additional expenses. No timeline has been provided as to when the City expects the retrofitting to be completed. 

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