The next time you face traffic congestion while picking up someone up at Toronto Pearson International Airport, don’t be tempted to illegally park on the roadways leading up to the terminals.
Two cars equipped with cameras are now roaming around the terminals taking pictures of the license plates of vehicles illegally parked. Vehicle owners will be sent a $75 “mobile payment notice” in the mail.
“We are choosing to call it a mobile payment notice, as opposed to a fine or ticket because …a lot of people would associate the word ticket with something that is issued by a municipality. This is a private payment,” said Ryan White, spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which operates Pearson.
“Last year we welcomed about 47.1 million travellers to Toronto Pearson. This year,we are probably going to finish out the year close to 50 million passengers,” White said.
“So, while obviously airport growth means more passengers, it also means more cars and more people dropping off and picking up passengers. In recent years, the issue of illegal roadside parking has been something that has been increasing with our growth.”
White says vehicles can still pick up and drop off passengers curbside at terminals. Drivers can park at the curb at the terminal once passengers have called to say they’re ready to be picked up.
“The mobile payment notices are related to the approach into the airport,” he said.
“So a lot of times, especially at busy times, what you will see coming into the airport on the approach roads, are cars parked illegally along the side of the road, so this is before you actually arrive to the terminals.”
The GTAA website encourages drivers coming to pick up family and friends to wait at one of the airport’s two cellphone parking lots, about a five minute drive from the airport terminals. The GTAA website states they are free, safe and convenient, so there is “no need to circle the terminal if you’re waiting for someone to arrive.”
Indigo Park is the the third party service provider hired by the GTAA to operate the program.
New signage is going up at the airport to direct drivers where to go. The two cellphone lots are on Network Road. They can accommodate a total of 266 vehicles. Drivers must remain in their cars while they wait. The spaces are designated for short term parking only.
“For Toronto Pearson the mobile notice program is really a safety program at its core. It is dangerous for people to park on the roadsides, and secondary to the safety issue, it actually causes congestion and it makes it less convenient for people to pick up or drop off their friends or family members at the airport,” said White.
“I see this as something that will greatly improve the flow of cars in and out of the airport.”