Dwight Deugo, a computer science professor at Carleton University, thinks it’s a pain to have to fetch a pay stub from one of those automated pay-and-display booths when parking, especially if it’s pouring rain. However, thanks to Dr. Deugo’s own invention, that rain-soaked dash need never happen again.
After more than a year of testing and research, Dr. Deugo has launched iParked.ca, a program that allows drivers to pay for parking by sending a text message via their cellphone. Carleton became the system’s first client after signing on to a summer pilot program and may extend iParked.ca to other lots on campus if it proves successful.
Dr. Deugo says the process is simple: users register their cellphone number, license plate and credit card information to the website, and are then able to park and pay via text message at any lot that uses the iParked.ca service. Once parked at Carleton, the user text messages “car” – short for Carleton – plus the parking lot number and the amount of time that he or she wishes to park.
An additional benefit: before their ticket expires, drivers receive a text message alert and can extend their parking time if necessary, avoiding costly fines.
Dr. Deugo acknowledges that those without cellphones are out of luck, but says the traditional pay-and-display system will still be available at the university.