Published on: June 1, 2017 | Last Updated: June 1, 2017 12:01 AM EDT
In 2016, Montreal processed about 700,000 financial transactions on its website, collecting $1.66 million in fees. Now it says it is eliminating the $2.50 surcharge for online transactions.
Montrealers opting to pay for a parking ticket online will no longer incur a $2.50 transaction fee.
The city’s executive committee voted Wednesday to amend its bylaw governing tariffs so that citizens paying for a ticket, building permit or any other transaction won’t be hit with extra costs.
Last year the city processed about 700,000 financial transactions on its website, collecting $1.66 million in fees. That number was an 11 per cent increase over 2015 earnings. Now Montreal’s executive committee wants to boost that trend by nixing fees.
“This is called putting your money where your mouth is,” said city councillor Harout Chitilian. “For years we’ve said we want to become a digital city, to offer more and better services online. We had to make this change to accomplish that. It’s very exciting.”
While Chitilian concedes the city will lose a reliable source of revenue in the short term, he believes the cost is justified by the goal of becoming a “fully digital city.” He says Montreal’s information technology department is digitizing its 311 phone line so that citizens can request services like graffiti removal, pothole repairs and other services on the web.
“Right now, if you want to appeal a traffic ticket you have to send it in the mail,” said Chitilian. “That needs to be modernized. We’re looking to digitize 180 services, we want to make the experience of dealing with the city as easy and accessible as possible.”
Mayor Denis Coderre began promoting the idea of Montreal as a “smart and digital city” shortly after his election in 2013. A 2015 action plan on the matter calls for better access to wireless internet in public spaces, GPS tracking on city buses and an upgraded fibre-optic network in the urban centre.
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