Credit Card-Capable Parking Meters

By Deane Barker on July 26, 2005

New Parking Meters Make Sacramento Debut: The plasticization of America continues.

Nine new solar-powered machines around Cesar Chavez Park and City Hall will accept credit cards and coins as part of a 6-month trial. People purchase tickets and place the receipts on their dashboards. The goal is to reduce costs and maintenance, according to officials.

This would be handy if it re-charged your credit card when the meter ran out rather than leave you vulnerable to a ticket. But then how would you stop it?

And solar-powered? Does that mean parking is free on overcast days?



  1. Last time I visited Savannah, GA, they had the cc meters in place around the historic district and riverfront areas. I don’t think theirs are solar-powered, and I can’t see them building in auto-re-charge into it, the parking ticket fees are probably more than the meter revenue. The only drawback with Savannah’s that I noticed were that each meter had a certain default time built in, and no matter how long you were actually there, you were getting charged for the default amount, which is fine if you’re spending all day park-and-walking around the area, but crappy if you’re going to dinner and all that’s open is an 8-hour meter

  2. What if you swiped the CC to start the clock, and swiped again to stop it?

    If there was no second swipe, the default would be 2 hrs at which point the meter would expire. And think of all the extra revenue from people too forgetful or too lazy to stop the clock.

    My problem is: what’s the need for the credit card? Doesn’t everybody have a bunch of change in their car already? C’mon, dig in the seats – you’ve got at least a buck in change in there.

  3. They have been doing this in Seattle for about a year. They took out all of the meters and put in a central machine and if the parking machine breaks, the City gives you a ticket. You can fight the ticket if you want to spend the morning at City Hall or you can just pay up and shut up. I believe that the City is being sued over this.

  4. MR, a lot of people don’t have as much change in their cars since they stopped paying cash for tolls. EZ-pass or I-pass systems have removed most of the need for change in cars. Besides, eliminating the need to collect and process the coins is a big part of these systems.

    BTW, Chicago has these systems as well.

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