The citys Parking Committee on Thursday approved a trial program that will allow parking patrons to pay with a credit card at several single-space meters throughout the downtown.
The trial period would involve the city testing 30 single-space credit card meters for 90 days. The City Council must sign off on the trial program before it is implemented.
Jon Frederick, director of parking and transportation, said the trial would come at a reasonable cost of $642.50 plus a 13-cent per credit card transaction fee. Other costs include a $125 credit card processor set-up fee and a $5.75 per meter per month gateway and Web-based management fee.
"This will give us an opportunity to test this technology's reliability," Frederick said.
Frederick said the city has been researching various manufacturers of single-space credit card meters and has chosen a company called IPS Group Inc. for the trial run. He said the city will look at several manufacturers for testing programs.
"This is just the beginning of a lengthy process," he said. "We will be testing more than one."
Frederick said if the single-space credit card meters are something the city wants to pursue, he will have to go out to bid in order to contract with a manufacturer.
If the city were to contract with IPS Group, the cost of each meter would be $495, Frederick said.
The single-space credit card meters have similar capabilities as the pay-and-display meters in regard to data collection. Frederick said that once the city completes the final phase of pay-and-display meter installations this summer, the city will have 204 two-hour and four-hour, single-space parking meters.
He said putting meters in remaining areas would enable the city to have real-time data collection capability on 94 percent of the total public parking supply.
Frederick said the meters will be retrofitted to the existing meter housings and will provide credit card and coin payment options. They are solar-powered and equipped with a rechargeable battery pack.
Areas in which the city is expected to begin testing the meters include the north side of Daniel Street from Penhallow Street to Market Square and both sides of Penhallow Street from Daniel Street to Bow Street.