The extension of two-hour free parking in the downtown core and Old East Village by the City of London is being met with mixed reaction.
Free parking has been extended through the end of 2020.
Some motorists and business owners think it is a benefit, but others argue it’s confusing and not inclusive for all.
At issue is the requirement to use the Honk mobile app to access the free parking.
For those without smart phone access or the ability to book in advance online, the free parking is inaccessible.
There’s also the issue of awareness.
"What? You have to have the app, for parking to be free!" exclaimed one woman in frustration in front of a Dundas Street meter.
Tina Hetaj, a millennial and student at Fanshawe College was equally perplexed.
Completely unaware parking was free, she failed to notice a small sticker which gives the code - once inside the ‘Honk’ app - to collect the free parking.
"Oh wow... that’s so tiny."
Hetaj also found the link to enter the free code is also too small in the app.
Like many, she needed assistance to find it.
Hetaj and local business owners thinks the entire program needs an overhaul.
Tanya Layton, the owner of Wabi/Sabi Hair & Body on Dundas Street says the promotion of the campaign by the city should be retooled.
"People are just not really aware of it. It does not say it on the machine. So, the machine is taking people’s money and they’re not aware it’s free with the app."
Tanya Layton, owner of Wabi/Sabi Hair & Body on Dundas Street in London, Ont. appreciates free municipal two-hour parking in the core, but says it’s too confusing for customers. (Sean Irvine / CTV News)
To solve the problem, most business owners and motorists agree that the best solution is to make parking free, with no app required.
Until then, the frustration will continue, as another woman told CTV News, "Totally confusing! You know, I don’t live here, so I’m not downloading the app! It doesn’t make sense for me."
Another issue is where exactly are the boundaries of the free parking? The city has provided a map which does not include some streets motorists we interviewed, had expected to find.
In an email statement, City of London Media Relations Manager Monika Guzy said, "The City is funding the free two-hour parking through the Core Area Action Plan budget. Using the HonkMobile promotional code allows us to track budget spend and measure the uptake and success of the program."
She also confirmed the only two ways to take advantage of the free parking are through the app or the honkmobile.com website.