Blinkay: How the app that will soon replace parking meters in the Buenos Aires city works

This month the old ticket machines will be replaced by a digital platform to pay for leaving the vehicle on public roads.

June will be the month of the platform change for Buenos Aires metered parking. Almost ten years will have passed since the first attempt to update an obsolete and always controversial service, with tow trucks as the main protagonists, when the digital age advances over the historic parking meters that still regulate the places where vehicles are left on the streets of the Historic Center and other neighborhoods of Buenos Aires.

While the registration of residents is still open so that residents with an address established in the perimeter where the parking lot is measured can leave their car free of charge, the development of the application from which users will be able to pay the parking fee, control the time and carry out other related procedures. In addition, the list of businesses that will be attached to sell parking hours continues to expand, an option that will be offered to speed up the transition from one method to another.

How will the new digital tool to pay for parking work? The app will be available for the iOS and Android operating systems and it already works in cities around the world in countries such as Spain, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom. This is Blinkay that will offer multiple forms of payment: debit card, credit card or through virtual wallets such as Mercado Pago.

Although it is not yet operational in Argentina, it can already be downloaded from the App Store or Play Store. To create a user profile you need an email address, configure your name and password and define a payment method to carry out the operations.

A tow truck takes away a badly parked car in Recoleta, one of the neighborhoods where parking meters still work.

Blinkay works through geolocation. When using it, you must enter in the app in which area the vehicle will be left parked and select how long. Then you can make the payment with the option “Start parking meter” and the system will issue an alert when the parking time is about to end.

Among the advantages of the digital device is the option of recovering the money for the time that has not been consumed, in case the vehicle is removed earlier than expected. The app is promoted as a tool that “needs no preloads, no coins, no commissions and that is paid from the phone to forget about the parking meter.” Also the possibility of inviting friends to the network of use that is rewarded with discounts for parking.

From the Secretary of Transportation and Public Works of the City, they reported that although the day that the new format will be implemented has not been defined, they continue to point to the second half of June. In their social networks, some government officials, such as the Chief of Staff, Felipe Miguel, are already promoting the new parking lot and the advantages it will bring to residents.

In that sense, days ago the registry of residents was opened for those who live in Retiro, Monserrat, San Nicolás, San Telmo, Recoleta and Balvanera who will be exempt from paying the parking fee. People residing in these neighborhoods, in the perimeter where there are some 3,500 regulated spaces, will be able to enable up to one vehicle with free parking within a radius of 300 meters. Registration does not imply reserving a spot on the street, but rather the benefit of free parking when the digitization of the system is implemented. 

So far, 1,400 people have already joined the resident registry, which will remain open once the new system comes into operation. Only one permit will be granted per address, per person and per owner or authorized driver of the vehicle; that is, if the cohabitants in the same dwelling have more than one car, they must decide which vehicle to enable in the resident registry. 

The first step to manage the permit is to have an account in miBa, the official personalized platform in which the city’s services can be configured. It will be necessary to have a DNI or a service with an address within the tariff zone, have the ABL departure number corresponding to the address (it is not necessary to be the holder of the ticket), and have a unique vehicle identification card or card for authorized to drive.

It is important to know that the registered vehicle must not have a Vehicle Filing Tax and Traffic Violation debt. In case of having it, it must be paid within 12 months after entering the resident registry. The process is completed by going to in the Benefits for residents section.

A user shows the blank tokens that are used in parking meters; in a few weeks they will be replaced by a digital application

Blinkay will control the validity of the metered parking, the hours that each vehicle is allowed to remain in the regulated spaces and, also, which ones have the authorization, that is, the cars of the residents. Everything will be supervised through the patents and through a system of portable cameras that the traffic agents will have. When it comes into force, a list of patents with permission in regulated areas and the option to pay through the app for non-resident users will be enabled. The agents will have the power to fine offenders who do not comply with the established requirements.

There will also be the option to buy parking hours at participating locations. So far, 90 businesses have joined, exceeding the 73 that currently sell tokens for parking meters. In recent days, and prior to the launch of the new system, some users reported problems getting the blanks, especially in certain areas of Recoleta.

There are businesses that no longer have parking tickets and this has an impact on users who report some problems

The distribution of the tokens is the responsibility of the haulage crane companies, Dakota and BRD, which since 2001 have been operating with extensions on expired contracts. Neither of the two firms responded to LA NACION’s query about whether there were logistics problems.

Regularizing the operation of this service is an objective of the Buenos Aires administration that since 2013 has been running into different legal obstacles and revoked projects. Almost ten years ago, the expansion of metered parking to 45% of the city had been approved to reach 140,000 new spaces in which different types of rates would have to be paid and the city divided into five zones with a company assigned to each of the zones. zones. That law was dropped.

In 2016 there was another attempt with a law that replaced the 2013 one. The main change had been that the State promised to provide the new tickers, but there was a new cancellation. Finally, in 2020 a new regulation was approved that reduced the number of places where metered parking will arrive to 80,000 and introduced the digital platform to pay.

Find out here About the success story.

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