L.A.'s New High-Tech 'Coin & Card' Parking Meters Debut
Los Angeles has thousands of broken meters, frustrating confused drivers and concerned city budget officials. “Instead of carrying a bagful of quarters to feed the meter, drivers will now be able to pay quickly and conveniently with a credit card," explained Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa this morning as he unveiled "coin and card" parking meters in Los Feliz, where 200 meters were installed.
The new meters, purchased from the San Diego-based IPS Group, Inc., will accept coins and debit and credit cards (Visa, Mastercard and Discover). As part of a pilot project that began 18 months ago, 500 were installed in the Little Tokyo and downtown neighborhoods yielding revenues that were up 40% on average.
Today's announcement meant 10,000 more will be installed throughout the city, generating an estimated $1 to $1.5 million annually in net meter revenue. In all, the city has around 40,000 meters.
"A modern city needs modern technology," said Councilmember Tom LaBonge, who represents the Los Feliz area -- a significant gesture because broken parking meter confusion landed one of his staff a ticket. "These smart meters will allow people
to park with greater ease and pay with a swipe of the card.
The meters come with wireless technology that enables them to notify repairmen when they break or are vandalized. Additionally, they will operate on a solar battery.
While city policy is to not cite vehicles at "failed" meters they are new meters, encountering them won't happen as often. "Since these meters are super reliable and citizens should not be encountering the old "failed" meter reading that the 17-year-old meters can display, we are advising people to either pay with a coin, or with a credit/debit card to avoid a parking citation," said Bruce Gillman, a Department of Transportation Public Information Officer.
All 10,000 meters should be installed by July 1st.