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Coins preferred with new parking meters

Thomas Bradley / Campus editor

It has now been more than a year since the city of Columbus replaced about 1,000 coin-operated parking meters with meters that accept coins and credit cards, but many Ohio State students aren’t using the credit card option.

Many of these new meters can be found around campus and seem to be having little affect on students, as they prefer coins.

These new meters not only take coins as before but now also accept debit and credit cards such as VISA, MasterCard and Discover. In addition, the meters also accept city-issued parking meter cards.

“Coins are more common and easier than figuring out how to use a card,” said Saeed Alquraishi, a first-year in exploration.

Rick Tilton, assistant director of the public information office for the Department of Public Service, said meter cards are available as a rechargeable and non-rechargeable card.

“Meter cards are more convenient if you don’t have a credit card or aren’t able to get a credit card,” Tilton said.

Rechargeable cards have a maximum balance of $50 and can be recharged at the Parking Violations Bureau located at 2700 Impound Lot Road. Monday through Saturday 9:00 to 7:00 p.m., according to the Columbus public service website.

Non-rechargeable cards are sold in denominations of $25, $50 and $100 and can also be purchased at the Parking Violations Bureau.

Dan Williamson, a spokesman for the mayor’s office, said the new meters provide a convenience for Columbus residents.

“The option to use cards makes parking easy and brings more people to the area. It is a great option for customers,” Williamson said.

Tilton said Columbus has about 4,000 meters and plans to replace all of them by 2016.

“The meters were reaching the end of their lifespan and we needed new meters. These are more convenient,” Tilton said.

The pilot program for the new meters took place on Gay Street in 2009-2010.

“We sought out comments and received calls with positive response to the new meters,” Tilton said.

The new meters give patrons multiple pay options for added convenience.

Some students say they occasionally use their credit card, but usually as a last resort.

“If I don’t have change then I’ll use my card. Overall, the options are convenient,” said Erika Randolph, a fourth-year in information systems.

Aside from the convenience benefits to customers, the new meters benefit the city as well.

“They are more efficient because we can monitor them electronically as opposed to sending people out to work on them. We can remotely reboot them,” Tilton said.

The meters have only had one known issue so far, Tilton said.

“We had a programming issue once that displayed a holiday on all meters when it wasn’t a holiday,” Tilton said.

Although the meters are able to show on the monitoring system whether they are working or not, Tilton encourages people to call 614-645-3111 if they experience a meter having issues.

As with any improvement, there are still issues which are left unresolved.

“The meters have a limit of two hours and classes are longer than that, it’s not enough time,” Alquraishi said.

When meters exceed the time limit, tickets can be issued.

“People need to look at the hours and enforcement. If it’s in question, then don’t park there,” Tilton said.

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