Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Parking Meter That Gives Change

Only end up paying for the time you used.
  [vote for,

It would probably be difficult to give back coins.

Perhaps the parking meter could read in either coins or tickets (like a subway ticket), and then spit out a "change" token-ticket if you had time left over.

You could sell parking token-tickets for use at any meter or city run parkade. Maybe even sell them right from the meters themselves for later use when you don't have any coins on you.

eagle, May 17 2000

bidding for greens http://www.halfbake...ding_20for_20greens
Or do this... [egnor, May 17 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Parking meters giving credit for unused time: Baked as of 1997 http://www.sandiego.../dec/dailyupdt.html
Fairly sizable page -- either do a search for "parking meter" or just scroll down to the second to last paragraph. [Lucky_Setzer, May 17 2000, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Solar-powered parking meters... http://news.excite....06/08/odd-meters-dc
...don't work without sunlight [phoenix, May 17 2000, last modified Oct 21 2004]

A much nicer way to save parking fines http://www.swimsuit...ds/meter_maids.html
[RobRoy, May 17 2000, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Parking meters http://www.zdnet.co...993,20260725,00.htm
Parking meters that allow you to pay by phone or by smart-card. [mighty_cheese, May 17 2000, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       How about a parking meter that has a credit card swipe, a metal detector, and a lighted display?   

       When no car is present, the display is lit yellow (so you can easily spot an open parking space while cruising around).   

       When a car arrives, the metal detector triggers and the light turns red (municipal authorities will be cruising for these, or maybe it sends a report directly to HQ if more than a few minutes elapse).   

       Swipe a credit or debit card through the slot and it turns green (confirming available funds).   

       When the maximum time limit (if any) expires, the light turns red again, and a fine is charged to the credit card; otherwise, when the car leaves, the exact fee for time spent is charged to the card.   

       If the city wanted to promote carpooling or recycling or some other public-good behavior, it could give out mag-stripe cards good for $20 (or whatever) worth of free parking to people doing whatever they want people to do.
egnor, May 17 2000

       I remember seeing a news item once for a parking meter that could tell when you pulled away. Unfortunately, it used this information to zero the timer, so your remaining 15 minutes would just go into the coffers and the next person would be forced to pay from zero.
Eeyore, May 18 2000

       If they ever tried to put those in place, you'd have a few large trucks that would "accidentally" run into the meters.   

       City gov. greed is why the user friendly "only pay for what you use" meters will probably never turn up. I would guess that 20% of parking meter and pre-pay lot revenue comes from un-used time.   

       Especially the pre-pay lots. You pay $1 for 1 hour and then only stay 45 minutes. You've just given 25 cents worth of parking resource to the city to sell to someone else.   

       But if you try to stay 1.25 hours, you could end up paying $7.50 as a fine -- not just the extra 25 cents.   

       It's kinda like a $20/month unlimited time ISP or a $20/month unlimited long distance carrier -- they rely on un-used resources to boost revenue.   

       Maybe the really profitable idea is to get into the parking lot / meter business. Pay a whole bunch of $8/hr. high school kids to virulently (sp?) monitor the situation and hand out tickets like mad-men!
eagle, May 18 2000

       Government is greedy, but it's also ultimately answerable to the voters. I could see a politician installing such things in a grandstanding move ("vote for me!"), or a ballot initiative ...
egnor, May 18 2000

       This is opposite the direction that cities are taking the parking meter concept. San Jose has a law against putting money in a meter being used by someone else (they've prosecuted "good samaritans" for doing this), and last year they planned to install meters that would detect when the car had left and zero out the time remaining. I don't know if they've actually installed those. I'm personally very offended by the concept; if I've paid for an hour's parking, and I can't use all of it, I definitely want someone else to be able to.   

       As a variation on egnor's card swipe idea, I suggest using a wireless RF tag device. That way there's no slot for miscreants to fill with chewing gum.   

       If the card or tag is of the stored-value variety (which it would have to be, or else the meter would have to connect into a central database), you'd probably have to swipe it again when you were leaving in order to get a refund. Then you'd have to leave within two minutes, or you'd get fined.
brouhaha, Jun 16 2000

       The good samaritan thing is an example of the same thing Eagle was talking about. I read news stories about someone who would put a quarter in a nearly out meter, then a note under the wiper saying "I saved you a 50$ fine" and asking for 5$ in return...some people did, as I understand it, but the city stopped making as much money...
StarChaser, Jun 16 2000

       At some parking places, the meters are designed to enforce a certain maximum time a car may be parked, and "topping off" the meter will not suffice to extend this maximum. So, e.g., if a meter charges $0.05/5 minutes but has a 30 minute maximum, putting in $0.25 will give you 25 minutes, but even if you go back when the meter reads 0:04 and add another dime it will only go to 0:09 rather than 0:14 [since you'd used 21 minutes, and the maximum allowable total was 30]. Unfortunately, if you arrived at the space and the meter showed, e.g, 0:03, you'd have no way of knowing how much time (if any) you'd be able to add; an automatic-reset would have made these meters much more useful.
supercat, Aug 21 2000

       Perhaps we should all use pay-on-foot car parks; here, you don't end up with fines of GBP 50.00 (yes, fifty pounds sterling, equal to USD 70.56) for overstaying by a few minutes (but the charge is still rounded up, and there is still a penal charge of GBP 7.50 if you stay for five hours or more).   

       How we can do this on the street is another matter (I suppose, if you pay for two hours and stay for one, it could pop out coins into the returned coin holder when you drive off).
simonrose, Jul 07 2001

       I don't see the need to issue a fine at all. If I'm "paying by card" why not swipe once to activate the meter, then again to deactivate. I pay the going rate for the intervening time.   

       If a maximum usage time is desired and fines are enforced, automatically ticket and fine me by mail for exceeding the time limit.   

       In either case (and as previously suggested), have the meter indicate it's "in use" status with lights for easier enforcement.
phoenix, Aug 06 2001

       Ahh...see all we have to do is wait a year to see new innovations that take the form of our wildest half-baking. I know I heard on the news the other day that Porland, OR is looking to replace all it's parking meters with solar-powered meters that accept cash, credit, or debit. Supposedly, unused time could be refunded for credit and debit payments. Still looking for link. I did find a link stating that refunding credit is a very baked concept. See link and do a page search for "parking meter".
Lucky_Setzer, Aug 07 2001

       There actually are such devices called "In-vehicle parking meters". Used country wide in Israel and now spreading to the states (University of Wisconsin @ Milwaukee, Aspen, CO and Alexandria Virginia) Europe and Asia. They all are designed in Isreal and go by the names Easy-Park, Smart-Park, Auto-Parq and Parkulator. You pay only for the time you park. I just submitted a grant for the purchase of them for UC, Santa Barbara with CMAQ funds. Do a search for the names above in any search engine to learn more or contact me at James.Wagner@park.ucsb.edu
yojamey, Aug 31 2001

       In Sydney you can pay for your parking by mobile phone. The meter-maid can check if you paid by mobile phone as well. If I remember the news story correctly, the parking meter rings you when you are running out of time, and you can add more time over the phone. (see link)
mighty_cheese, Oct 29 2001


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