Hot new app makes downtown place to be

    Parking is now more convenient downtown (Alex Vautour/AQ)
    Parking is now more convenient downtown (Alex Vautour/AQ)
    Parking is now more convenient downtown (Alex Vautour/AQ)

    Parking meters can be annoying and inconvenient. Especially when you have to dig in your pocket for change or cut the visit short because you’re almost out of time.

    That’s why Philip Curley, 22, came up with a solution.

    Curley and his team have created an app where you can park at the meters downtown and pay by using your cellphone called Hotspot.

    “It’s about connecting people into the parking network,” said Curley.

    The app will launch next Tuesday, where it will appear in the Apple store.

    “We are just waiting for Apple’s approval.”

    Hotspot is available in the Android market and has 735 users in Fredericton.

    “And it grows everyday,” said Curley.

    To use Hotspot, users can sign up online by entering basic info, a license plate number and credit card information. Once registered, users can buy bundles of $20 parking times. Once parked, text or call Hotspot your meter number on the Hotspot sticker. The rate is $1.75 an hour at all meters.

    It also includes a unique feature. Hotspot will text you fifteen minutes before your parking time runs out and allow users to buy more time if needed.

    Curley said even though downtown Fredericton is more expensive to shop it has much more variety. His main goal is to make it easier to pay for parking so people can spend more time downtown.

    “This is going to bring more people downtown,” said Curley. “And eventually, we want the businesses to pay for your parking.”

    Small business banker, Daniel Picard, has high hopes for the app.

    “I think it works and there’s a need,” said Picard. “People are willing to pay for it, it’s just about educating the costumers.”

    Curley, former UNB engineering student, estimates approximately 3,000 users to sign up after the launch.

    Hotspot is exclusive to Fredericton, but Curley plans to bring it to Saint John shortly after the launch.