Tyranny of the quarter

I’m all for paying for parking, I would even sheepisly describe myself as a Shoupista.  One thing that gets me going though, is parking meters.  I never, ever have a quarter when I need one and cities have made agonizingly slow progress on phasing out this outdated method of paying for parking.  Back when you might only need one quarter to park for an hour, yeah, this technology might have made sense.  But since even our underpriced street parking requires $1 to $2 for an hour, requiring the use of metal money is ridiculous.  How do I transport these pounds of quarters and where do I find a reliable source of them (especially near where I park)?

So I was extra annoyed when I tried to park in Saint Paul today and found this centralized electronic parking payment box that only accepted change.  Not dollars, not credit cards.  Only change.  I can sort of understand the no credit card issue, it costs money.  But why a meter-person couldn’t collect dollars as well as coins boggles me.

P.S. I have a Minneapolis parking card, but it sits in my glove box, balance: zero.  I can’t be bothered to travel downtown to refill it.

2 thoughts on “Tyranny of the quarter

  1. Does it accept dollar coins? I think the real issue isn’t that these things don’t accept bills (though it’d be nice), but that our metal/paper split hasn’t kept up with inflation.

    The “You cannot add…” line confuses me. What I’d expect is that it doesn’t let you add time beyond the three hour limit (how can it tell that you’re not a new person with a new car trying to park in a spot with some left over time? Do you just have to abandon any existing minutes that have been bought?), or possibly that you can’t add time at all.

    However, it seems to be saying that you can add time, but you have to wait three hours from the initial purchase?

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