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Confusion at Park & Pay Machines Explained

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Joy and happiness surround the new park and pay stations in this photo of a citizen with a park and pay ambassador | Photo provided by the City of LA

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The Department of Transportation caught wind of yesterday's confusion at the Park and Pay Machines in Silver Lake and decided to take a stab at explaining what happened. "What occurred in this case is that after inserting their quarter, the customer pressed 'OK' twice when all they needed to do was walk away," explained Daniel Mitchell, a Senior Transportation Engineer who is charged with leading the park and pay station program. "After pressing OK, the pay station allows you to select how much you would like to pay with your credit card, and the default is $0.50."

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Part of the confusion may come because when paying by coin, there is no confirmation when you're done inserting coins. The machine does not know if you are walking away or fumbling around in your pocket for more coins, but after awhile it will time out. When using a credit card, there is a final screen after the credit transaction has completed processing.

As for enforcement, things will change a little at park and pay machines. No longer will parking enforcement officers be able to base tickets on expired meters. Now, marking tires and new license plate recognition technologies will aid officers in citing vehicles. Remember, just because you can't see a parking meter countdown to zero doesn't mean you can keep paying to park there all day -- time limits will still be enforced.

As for higher rates at meters, this week City Council directed the City Attorneys Office to write an ordinance increasing fees citywide. How much will the new minimum per hour be is not known as city council will have to vote on it. Expect to see that ordinance passed within the next month or two. One LAist reader, torrmoz, said that he was told the fee will be raised to one-dollar per hour. But, if that happens, don't let that confuse you into thinking you have to pay a buck everytime you park -- you can still pay a quarter for 15 minutes and so on.