Olympia tests new credit card parking meters

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by ANGELA KING / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on May 8, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 8 at 11:18 AM

Drivers in Olympia have another option when it comes to paying for street parking.

Crews have installed 20 new credit card parking meters throughout the city. Managers are testing two different models for 30 days to see which one commuters prefer.  
 
"It's a customer-service issue with the pay stations," said Olympia Business Manager Karen Kenneson. "People like the convenience of meters better."  
 
The new single-space meters not only allow drivers to use their credit card, but they scan cards faster than pay stations. Users can also add time to their meter at any point during their stay. With pay stations, drivers have to wait until their parking sticker expires.
  
City officials also want to get rid of the pay stations because the machines break down frequently.
 
"We've had large components of the machine go down over the past year. Modems have gone down. CPUs have gone down. When a pay station is inoperable, it affects a whole block as opposed to if a meter goes down, it's only affect that one parking space," said Kenneson. 
 
Kenneson estimates maintenance costs for the new meters is $20,000 cheaper than pay stations. They will replace all pay stations by this summer.
 
Two years ago, the city borrowed $725,000 to buy the pay stations. The installation cost for the meters is $693,000.

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