Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Parking Ticket Slump

Only the top left gray screen is illuminated at night

Even worse than the beleaguered Cherry Hill Golf Course, Amherst parking ticket spoils are down a dramatic 25% half-way through the fiscal year, currently totaling $111,824 vs. last year at this time, $148,527.

The new parking system needs some getting used to, so enforcement officers have been spending more time showing folks how to use the parking machines and less time writing out tickets. The new machines can be a tad confusing because after you pay for time it does not confirm the payment and tell you to "have a nice day."

The machines are also hard to read in low light conditions, although they do take credit cards and payments can be made via a smartphone. Unfortunately those transactions have a slight catch: "Each mPARK transaction is subject to a minimum $1.00 purchase, made in $1.00 increments, plus a nominal service fee." So if you wish to run into a store for coffee and a paper you may want to park at the remaining traditional parking meters that take good old American change.

The Spring Street Parking lot in town center was also under construction for almost six months, which could account for substantial lost ticket revenues.
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9 comments:

DaveMB said...

The new machines do take change, though you have to remember your stall number on the walk from your car to the machine.

Don't forget that the Judy's construction also reduced the number of spaces in the big surface lot.

LarryK4 said...

Good points.

Yes Judie's took up a bunch at the Parking Garage surface lot, but with the amount of money she generates via the local option food tax I think we still made out.

DaveMB said...

Yeah, the gross receipts from Judy's must be in the hundreds of thousands a year, so 0.75% of that adds up. And presumably the five-story building will generate a lot of property tax.

The real cost of the congestion in the surface lot is that people will decide to go elsewhere rather than deal with it, and not be aware when it gets better.

Anonymous said...

With the new machines you can park on the previous parker's payment as you can see how much time is left for the spot. (the receipt on the windshield is more advantageous for the town as every car pays something!)

Anonymous said...

After getting a decidedly undeserved ticket because the machine didn't register the money I put in I will never again park in a lot that uses these damn machines. I'd rather walk.

Anonymous said...

Parking meters were never supposed to be a source of revenue. They were meant to keep people from parking in a spot all day so there was turnover for businesses.

Anonymous said...

How long do you think it will take the town bean counters to figure out how to raise the parking ticket revenue?
I think we finally have a system that works fair, via the parking space is paid for for a period of time irregardless who paid for it or who's parked there. so if the person before you paid for an hour and left in a half hour. The next vehicle gets the paid for time. Seems fair to me, What the town needs to figure is how much does each space generate in a day if the space is not paid for twice for the same time, where as with the old system where the previous parked car would drive away with the ticket so you had to buy another ticket to park. Hence allot more revenue. My guess would be in a short period if the town doesn't see the numbers come up they will raise the fee to compensate for efficient parking.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:56 I sympathize, I don't quite trust the machines and always expect to see a ticket on my car when I return. I look for the old style meters when possible.

Ed said...

Has it occurred to any of you that the Charm of Amherst is starting to wane as the economy fails to ObamaRecover?

I am noticing vehicle traffic down at non-commute times. It would be interesting to see an objective space occupancy percentage from this time last year. My guess -- less.

And as to Judie's, how is her meal count going? Again, my guess would be...