With the immediate implementation of COVID-19 restrictions put in place in March, we knew we needed to adapt each of our lines of business to contend with the uncertainty of what was to come as quickly as possible. We focused on the health and safety of our staff and customers, identifying areas where we could offer our customers flexibility, and determining how to best support The City of Calgary’s efforts to prop-up local businesses and temporarily reduce barriers for their customers. Our team came up with ideas to remain engaged with Calgarians and our various community stakeholders to remain relevant yet mindful of the uncertain times.
Notably, we provided free short-term parking in on-street ParkPlus zones (on two separate occasions) to minimize barriers for residents and delivery drivers doing curbside pick-ups and deliveries, which directly supported businesses. Working in tandem with that activation of short-term free parking, we facilitated the request from The City of Calgary to temporarily suspend enforcement of no-stopping zones in business improvement areas, opening up additional stalls in these vibrant areas which are densely populated with locally owned businesses.
In our facilities, we lowered the qualifying time to receive evening rates and introduced modified enforcement procedures focusing on education and proactive community engagement. Throughout the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CPA as a whole has endeavored to take a compassionate and flexible approach to our service delivery.
With stay-at-home orders, mandatory isolation requirements and work-from-home directives, the way our Parking Safety and Compliance team supported The City’s street sweeping program in 2020 did a 180. Our Parking Patrol and Investigation Officers were knocking on doors to remind residents the street sweepers were on the way; a practice that in any other circumstance we wouldn‘t have the capacity to do.
Internally, 2020 was the push we needed organizationally to transition more of our services online. With fewer people to serve face-to-face, along with our utmost commitment to providing a safe environment for our customers and staff, we took the leap to permanently close our main downtown office to the public. With these services transitioned to an online, self-serve model, we re-directed all in-person dealings to our Customer Service team at the Impound Lot, equipped with protocols supporting Alberta Health Services’ recommendations.
To maintain connection amongst staff thrust into remote and distanced work, we undertook “CPA Connection Challenges” including sharing photos of each of our “new normal”, a Wellness Bingo, an Acts of Kindness Challenge, and even a CPA Amazing Race!
Despite the major hurdles 2020 presented us, and the world for that matter, it has also been the motivator towards implementing change and providing a unique lens in which to see how we can continue to provide customer service excellence in all formats and through challenging and unpredictable times.