Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Pay and Park

By using coupons and a validating machine to mark in and out time.
 
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A prepaid coupon which a vehicle owner has to purchase and everytime he parks the vehicle, has to present the same. Attendent puches it through a device and marks the in time and while exiting also marks the out time. Thus completes the transaction and attendent is now entitle for his comission for the every vehicle he enters.
ssshraddha, Apr 18 2003

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       There's about a million inefficiencies in public parking. Why are these businesses, which are on every block in every major city and have been around for decades so spectacularly backwards?

I'd welcome any kind of innovation that would speed up the process, so a plus for that.
Take it step further: franchise those EZ-Pay/EZ-Pass transponders and payment systems to parking lot owners so people can choose to park in lots that give them the option of quick in and out, automatic payment debit on their pre-paid EZ-Pay accounts.
It's not like the technologies aren't out there, and probably already used in sophisticated, advanced cities like London, or Kansas City. But why aren't they where I want to park?
roby, Apr 18 2003
  

       I understand and empathize with your intentions in posting this idea, but I'm afraid that in the real world, this is a WIBNI. Yes, it would be more convenient for vehicle owners to have access to a prepaid system rather than carrying around massive amounts of coinage. Absolutely, it would be wonderful if we could pay for only the time we need to park there, instead of four-hour or six-hour blocks of time. But parking lot operators are actively and constantly seeking ways to reduce their costs so they will not hire real live people to staff their parking facilities, even if said human beings are paid on a commission-only basis. It is far easier for them to install machines to dispense tickets (their convenience, not yours) and then have random patrols to check up on and ticket illegally parked vehicles. These patrol people can cover many facilities during their shift, thereby keeping costs down. Maximum profit for minimum cost is the motto for parking lot operators. I'm going to stop now, because this is beginning to sound like a rant. Sorry for the fishbone!
Canuck, Apr 18 2003
  

       Like video-return late fees, parking companies make a large portion of their profits from tickets. It is in their interest to make it more difficult for you to pay at the meter than to make things more effcient.   

       Sad, but true.   

       Take the bus?
rapid transit, May 22 2003
  

       I've seem something similar baked in a car park in Nottingham (UK).   

       As you enter there's a barrier, and you press a button to receive a ticket/card and be let in. You then park.   

       When leaving, there's another barrier, where you feed your ticket/card to a machine which works out how much it should cost (not sure what size time chunks it was in). Once you've paid the machine (I think it was cash only, but I don't see why you couldn't have a card payment system), it lifts the barrier to let you out.   

       There was an attendant/security guard on hand if you were to have a disagreement with the technology.
Skrewloose, Dec 08 2008
  

       "Pray and Park" might be a scheme where inner-city churches convert their basements into underground carparking areas, which they can advertise as "free" - on the basis that "worshippers" can leave a small donation in the coin-operated ticket machine.
zen_tom, Dec 08 2008
  
      
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