New Technology Requires Hand Holding


New Technology Requires Hand Holding

In Missoula, Montana, old manual meters have been replaced with an automated, credit-card capable Luke system. City leaders have recognized that there might be a few users who struggle with the new concept, reports Interim Parking Commission Director Goeff Badenoch, reminds residents that the meters still take coins, but that they don’t take bills. Credit cards work, but no pennies. He’s also offered the personal help of any parking commission staff member and an instructional video.

“It is a new system and it is technology-based and people may be a little intimidated by it, but it’s possible to go on You Tube and there’s a tutorial if users just go to the Missoula Parking Commission, you’ll find the information there.”

I’m not sure the people who have trouble with an automated parking meter are the type to check out YouTube for instructions, but I like the approach. Click here to read the article. Users need all the support they can get. I’ve met several parking meters that intimidated me, and I don’t mind saying so. It’s not the concept that eludes me, but the procedure. Faced with a box covered with buttons, switches, knobs, inserts and tiny text, it’s easy to get lost on your first attempt.

City leaders in Cold Spring, New York could learn a little from the leadership in Missoula. Cold Spring has just signed a contract to install its very first parking meter – actually, a pay station, reports

The solar-powered station, which is expected to be operational by spring and will be owned by the village after the lease is paid, will accept cash and credit cards. Rates have not yet been determined. Trustee Cathryn Fadde said that visitors who extend their stay will be able to make additional payments with a smart phone.

From no meters at all to one that takes cards and offers smartphone options is a real leap for users. Written instructions near the meter, an attendant during the first few days and maybe even a video on YouTube are all methods for helping people get used to new technology.

Click here for the entire article.

Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. People are funny. The typical call that my customer service crew receives goes like this:

    Customer: How do I pay your machine?
    Staff: Have you read the instructions on the sign next to the machine?
    Customer: No.

    It is important to keep your fleet consistant. I have technology challenged customers tell me all the time that they go out of their way to park with me because my fleet is entirely one brand (T2 Lukes) while my competitor uses a mix of three different machines.

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