03/05/2015 11:18 EST | Updated 05/05/2015 05:59 EDT

Green P app lets drivers buy parking on their phone

The days of dashing back to plug the parking machine are coming to an end as Toronto introduces an app that will allow drivers to use their phone to buy parking at Green P lots.

For now the app will only be available for use at select non-gated, off-street Green P lots equipped with pay and display machines. There are plans to expand the app's use to on-street parking soon. 

The app, available as a free download for iPhone and Android users, will allow drivers to:

- Locate Green P lots using their phones.

- Buy parking. 

- Track how much they're spending on parking.

- Extend their parking time without returning to their vehicle. 

- Receive alerts when parking time is about to expire and top up their parking remotely. 

"This kind of approach makes sense," said Mayor John Tory at a news conference held Thursday to unveil the new app. "Our role isn't to fight the future, it's to embrace the future."

"I think the city has been frozen in time," said Tory, vowing Toronto will slowly catch up to use modern technology in its services. Tory said the app will give users "the best possible parking experience."   

Drivers will pay regular parking rates to use the app. To get started, drivers must create an account at Users then prepay their account using a credit card. 

Drivers who've paid for parking on their phone won't need a dashboard receipt as proof of purchase.

Instead, parking attendants will verify that parking has been paid by entering the licence plate number into a hand-held device. The mobile pay option will roll out in stages. Pay and display machines will remain as a payment option for drivers.