Alberta Health Services has recently received several questions about new parking meters recently installed at the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital and Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge.
The new meters were introduced to provide a more convenient way to pay for parking. Once parked, visitors visit a pay station, enter their licence plate number, and purchase the amount of parking time required. Visitors do not need to return to their vehicle to put a parking slip on their dash. Pay stations accept Canadian coin and major credit cards. Change machines are conveniently located near the pay stations. Additional time can be purchased from any “pay by plate” meter.
Steve Rees, Senior Program Officer for AHS Capital Management, says the new equipment has not changed how parking tickets are enforced or administered. The machines do not collect, search or store personal or credit card information, he adds.
“AHS does not consider parking tickets a primary revenue stream,” says Rees. “These new meters were purchased to help people access and pay for parking faster. They were not put in place as a way to better enforce or distribute parking tickets.”
If the purchased time expired, or no time was purchased, a parking ticket/citation is placed on the vehicle window. If a ticket is not paid within the specified time period, AHS sends the licence plate information to the Government of Alberta (Service Alberta) which provides contact information to allow AHS to mail out notifications. Both Service Alberta and AHS are bound by and adhere to the Personal Information Protection Act. The new AHS meters do not have the technology to scan licence plates or directly issue tickets by mail. At this time, AHS has no plans to use this kind of automated system.
“For patients or visitors who've received a parking ticket, AHS has an appeal process in place,” says Rees. “We also provide long-term patients and visitors with weekly and monthly passes at a reduced rate. Compassionate parking passes are also available for patients who cannot afford parking.”
Over the coming weeks, parking services is working to educate patients and visitors about the new meters. Staff will also be available in the parking lots to help people use the new system and answer any questions.