Chicago takes it in the neck, again


Chicago takes it in the neck, again

The following was posted on “Slashdot” – News for Nerds –I know its one person’s opinion, but perhaps the multispace meter folks need to get their pr departments working overtime

“The jury’s still out on whether Chicago taxpayers were taken to the cleaners by a rushed 75-year lease of the city’s metered parking to a Morgan Stanley consortium. But most would probably agree that the new shared Pay Boxes that replaced the city’s old parking meters don’t exactly live up to their ‘Smart’ billing. Here’s what the redesigned ‘user-friendly’ parking solution looks like: 1. Park your car. 2. Walk up to 1/2 block to a Pay Box. 3. Wait in line to use it. 4. Use coins or credit cards to purchase parking time — up to $84 for 24-hours (add $50 if you run out of time). 5. Wait for a paper receipt to be printed. 6. Walk up to 1/2 block back to your car. 7. Place the receipt on your dashboard. 8. Head off to your destination, perhaps passing the Pay Box a second time. So before other cities suffer the same fate as Chicago, Portland, and others, is there a ‘smarter’ way? Some suggest the In-Car Meter, but no new orders are being taken in Chicago. Any other ideas?”

Hmmmm – Is it possible that this blogger has some interest in “In car meters?” Not that that’s a bad thing.

I have thought for years that pay and display was a “bridge” technology. It solves a current problem, (How to collect money in amounts more than a quarter) works great, but is not the “final answer.” My guess is that in a decade, or so, when all cars have on board GPS, that parking charges will be automatically calculated, and then charged to your bank account with no interaction by the driver at al. In the mean time, P and D will sweep the land, and its manufacturers will be successful, at least those that make their machines user friendly and work closely with their customers to “sell” their benefits to the end users, the parkers.


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

3 Responses

  1. Arlington, VA is piloting some single space meters that accept credit cards, according to the county the price is about the same as 1/10 of a multispace meter so it works out.

  2. Until Chicago catches up with that new technology, why not convert the P&D to pay by space? The biggest complaint it seems is that you have to return to your car and display a ticket. The complaint that there is not a meter in every space is only acceptable if you have been able to park right in front of where you were going everytime and never had to walk a bit to get there, which from my experience is rare.
    As an alternative, put in a keyboard to accept the license # (keyboards are small now, look at Blackberry) pay what you wish and you are on your way. The enforcement goes to the meter, downloads current and valid plates , then proceeds to enter plates in the area and those expired etc. automatically come up for ticketing. It would be reasonable to assume you pay on the same side of the street in the meter nearest your vehicle but if you get a ticket because you paid for parking a block away, that data can be easily checked to determine if correct.

  3. Phone parking is perhaps the answer in the long term. Zagreb introduced it in 2001. Unlike other phone systems there is no sign up, account opening or vehicle registration, the payment is through the phone account. Result is that over 75% of all parking is paid for by phone, the challenge is how to get the pay and display out without upsetting the 25%.
    The city is in a win-win position, less cash handling easier enforcement, you can check from 100 feet away and income went up by 10% since short stay people without change still pay and overstayers top up when they get a text reminder.

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