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Card Meters

Incredibly simple concept, yet wonderully complex in operation.
  [vote for,

This idea is for parking meters to have card readers. I know, I know, Baked, right? WRONG! Because that's not all this meter has! When you swipe your card and the funds are verfied, you get a reciept printed out with a meter-specific code and a phone number you can call. The purpose of this is so that if you are in an office building for hours on end and the meter maxes out at 30 minutes, all you have to do to feed the meter is call the provided number, enter the provided code,and state the amount you wish to add. As long as the meter never runs out, it stores your card info from the initial swipe so you don't have to constantly enter it every time you feed the meter.

I was thinking initially of having an automatic debit option, wherein the meter would automatically debit the funds from your card, but that has a number of drawbacks, aside from already being Halfbaked. First, that method makes it too easy to forget how much you're spending on your parking. At $1.50 per hour, that can really add up. Also, it allows folks to simply park and forget, leaving their vehicle all day in a half-hour slot, which isn't fair to other drivers who may need to park close to that building, too.

21 Quest, Feb 25 2009

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       Excellent. Streets where they don't want people to renew too many times can limit the option to, say, 1 or 3 renews.
phundug, Feb 25 2009

       That's what I was thinking.
21 Quest, Feb 25 2009

       I'm confused. Where I live, meter feeding beyond the maximum time is illegal, and there's some effort to ensure that people don't hog parking spaces for longer than some short time, typically one or two hours. (In other words, the meter maxes out for a reason.) This isn't the case where you are?
jutta, Feb 25 2009

       It might very well be, jutta. If it is, however, I've never seen it enforced.
21 Quest, Feb 26 2009

       The whole point of a 30 minute maximum is to not let anybody park longer than 30 minutes, so why would the meters be retrofitted?
loonquawl, Feb 26 2009

       I don't think the city government cares so much about the actual parking, rather getting it's money.
21 Quest, Feb 26 2009

       I'm with the consensus here - we don't want people to be able to top up their meters. We want them to move their cars and let someone else park there. Most cities have long term parking just a ten minutes walk or a short park-and-ride bus journey away and that is precisely where your car should be if you want to park all day whilst you are at the office.
vincevincevince, Feb 26 2009

       One worry I would have is that the city council would use putting in this new technology as an excuse to raise prices and minimum payment values. They did it where I live - replaced traditional coin and twist meters with fancy-newfangled-electronic ticket printing things - which had the 'unintended' consequence of bringing the minimum payment up from 5 cents (5 mins) to 50 cents (1 hour). As I usually spend less than ten minutes in a city parking bay it does really irk me. I now avoid the city whenever possible.
vincevincevince, Feb 26 2009

       // I don't think the city government cares so much about the actual parking, rather getting [its] money.
Even if that were so, isn't there more money to be made by ticketing an illegally parked car than by having a packing spot legally occupied?

       The face of the parking time enforcement in my area is little golf-carts, open to the side, with people who mark tires of parked cars with chalk on a long stick. They come by in intervals slightly larger than the maximum parking time. If a car has a chalk mark in the same place as the one they're adding, that car has parked too long, and can be ticketed.
jutta, Feb 26 2009

       Not so here, jutta. The only places we have that kind of parking enforcement, to my knowledge, are those areas with a sign stating "Max 2-hour parking" or something like that, but with no meter. I found a great (but annoying) way to beat that, though. Every 2 hours, simply shift into neutral and roll just far enough to put the chalk mark on your tire on the bottom, since they always put it right on the treads. It really works.
21 Quest, Feb 26 2009


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