Well Duh – Never Underestimate the Ability of the Public to be Confused — Updated


Well Duh – Never Underestimate the Ability of the Public to be Confused — Updated

Wilmington NC is a beautiful little city. They just installed Pay by Space Machines. I'm sure that one of the reasons that they did rather than pay and display was to make it easier on the public (only one trip) and also to ensure that the streetscape was clean and crisp. There are only a few slight problems. Read about them here

Few cities have installed new parking equipment and have not had the complaint about folks not knowing enough about the new system. It's endemic. Cities simply don't get it. You cannot put out enough PR, signs, information, and the like. Remember what you learned about training in the army, First tell them what you are going to tell them, Second tell them, and then Third tell them what you told them.

Wilmington added to the confusion by having five digit space numbers. There must be a way for the P by S machine to append a block number to the space number so folks don't have to try to remember too much. Hell I can't remember the date and that's only two digits.

I know, we want to give the customer as much service as possible so they can "top up" their parking at any P by S machine by inputting the space number where they parked. Let's face it; if I can't remember the number for the 15 seconds it takes to walk to the machine, I certainly won't remember it an hour later. I know, the machine gave me receipt with the number printed on it. Well if it can do that, it can also add a couple of digits that would signify the block or whatever.

The best part is the comment by some of the residents:

Residents are frustrated because they say the system is unclear. Business owners say the new method is chasing business away. Many people are also concerned the city could potentially collect twice on the same space. With metered parking, if someone left their space before their money ran out, the time would carry over to the next driver. Now, there's no way to tell if there is still time left on the space.


Thanks to many readers who pointed out that I am geographically challenged.  This was in Wilmington NC, NOT Delaware.

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John Van Horn

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