24 - 2010

Digital parking meters – money-savers?

denver parking meter saves moneyRecently, my city has installed new digital parking meters all over town.

At first, I wondered if these were a waste — the old coin-op meters worked just fine (well, usually). But already, I have had one morning where I realized, “oh no! I forgot to grab some quarters for the meter!” and I could just swipe my card in the meter — crisis averted.

And on two occasions, I’ve really gotten to save a few cents. The old meters began operating when you put in coins. Clear enough.

But these meters are smart! So when I’ve arrived a few minutes before 9:00 a.m. (the designated start time), I get two bonuses.

One, the meter says “No money needed until 9:00 a.m.” So if you are running inside to pick something up and just need a moment, it reminds you not to pay.

And two, if you pay before 9:00, the meter begins calculating at 9:00. Where I work, I often pay to park from 8:45 or 8:50 until noon or 1 p.m. At 25 cents per half-hour, I would have to put in an extra dime or quarter to pay up until 9:00 with the old meters. But the new ones just add from 9:00 on.

It’s not going to make me a millionaire unless I live a *long* time, but saving 25 cents a day is better than nothing. (Five days a week, 50 weeks a year would save $62.50 — hey, that’s enough to pay for the upgraded high-speed Internet services I just ordered!)

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