Credit Card Readers in Missoula

Joyce posted this article about credit card parking meter tests in Missoula. Seems the credit card and transaction charges were running almost two thirds of the amount collected. WOW. I can see where this might have not been the best place to test this technology.

I asked Anne Guest, the head of parking in the Montana city, about her on street rates and she said they were 50c and hour. She noted that they were too low to justify the fees associated with them. She’s right, of course. There is a tipping point.

Missoula is a college town of about 50,000 and services a large area of western Montana. These are hearty western folk who might look askance at paying a couple of bucks an hour to park.

In many metropolitan areas that have on street rates approaching $3 and $5 and hour, credit card meters are the only way to go. Few carry 12 or 20 quarters just to pay for an hour’s parking.

Anne says they will be doing something soon. It seems they are supporting their old meters with parts scavenged from other communities. She has a wide selection of possibilities including new single space meters, Pay and Display, Pay on Foot, and the like. But I’m sure she has the process well in hand.

Rates are one of a number of things to keep in mind when you are considering technology. The most fancy isn’t always the best.

JVH

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