City's parking fee revenue has taken a huge hit during the pandemic

A Green P parking machine

At a time when the city of Toronto is looking at a $1.8 billion deficit, we are learning that parking revenue has taken a huge hit.

Fewer people are parking downtown and there was little enforcement early in the pandemic.

It means the city took in about $55 million less than expected in parking fees.

The Toronto Parking Authority uses fees to cover its costs then sends the rest of the money to the city coffers.

Councillor Brad Bradford is on the agency's board and says they're going to have to find ways to fill the gap.

"We're going to need to think about revenue tools and we're going to need to work with the provincial and federal governments," Bradford says.

He says the agency will review parking fees, as it does every year, but it may look at instituting paid parking in areas where it used to be free.

"We don't want to just be in the business of providing all day parking for folks. It's actually about cycling through those spaces much quicker."

He says the idea is that turnover in parking spaces will make it easier for people visiting local businesses to find a parking spot.

Bradford says they are also looking at modernizing the agency through an updated app, better integration with departments such as transit and new technology to monitor when spaces are being used.