Pay-by-card more popular then cash payment for parking in LA

For the first time parking meters in the city of Los Angeles made more money from debit- and credit cards than from cash payments.

Pay-by-card has been around for a little while now, and it seems that this payment method is now slowly starting to replace coins in LA. Before, coins were (and always have been) the number one payment method. People nowadays need more convenience. And carrying a purse filled with coins around just isn’t convenient for the modern person. That's probably the most important disadvantage of paying with cash: you always have to carry loose change with you.

Last March the parking meters in LA collected $2.34 million in card payments.
The total amount of money the parking meters collected was $4.46 million. This means that more than half of the total came from card payments.

It took about three years, but in December 2012 all existing parking meters were replaced by smart parking meters in the City of Los Angeles. People have been using the pay-by-card option from the very first moment. The smart parking meters aren’t only convenient to parkers, but also to employees: They are solar-powered, they communicate with credit companies over the internet and when they are out of order, an automated text message is sent to a maintenance worker. Official records state that the meters are working 99% of the time.

The first parking meters only accepted coins. Nowadays, you can still pay with coins (and paper money) at most parking meters and – terminals. However, other payment options are integrated more and more.

The days when you had to carry a bunch of change in your pocket in case you needed to feed the meter are long gone. Nowadays the customer expects multiple payment options – also when it comes to parking. The parking industry is moving from cash payment to e-payment. More parking operators allow credit card payments and online payments through mobile phones. In a 2013 survey among US parking professionals (conducted by the IPI) is the trend “demand for electronic (cashless) payment” chosen as the second leading trend.

I must admit that I still pay with coins for parking. In fact, before I go out to a place where I know I have pay for parking, I open my piggy bank (which I keep only for these occasions), and take the amount of change I think I need to buy enough time on the meter… Am I old-fashion?

Click here to read the full article on the LA parking meters by the LA Times.

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