You could soon get a $5 bonus for putting some money in the online wallet that’s part of the Park Evanston mobile app.

Members of the city’s Transportation and Parking Committee voted Wednesday to recommend City Council adoption of that idea, which was proposed by city staff.

Parking Division Manager Jill Velan says when users of the app pay for a parking session directly from their credit card the city incurs substantially more credit card processing fees than if the amount is debited from a pre-loaded cash balance in the wallet.

So, to encourage use of the wallet, Velan says the plan would offer that $5 bonus the first time a user loaded their wallet with $20 or more.

The plan is to conduct a 90-day trial of the bonus offer that would run from March through May.

The city has already implemented a different incentive to use the app itself. Normally any charge on the app costs the user a 35-cent convenience fee in addition to the hourly rate for the parking space.

But now, if a user pays for the maximum time allowed at the meter, usually two hours, the city will absorb the 35-cent convenience fee.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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