Improved meters are not so improved

| May 30, 2024 | 0 Comments

PEOPLE attempting to use the new pay stations last month.

‘Smart’ meters cause frustration, confusion; city says problems are fixed

Two multi-space pay stations recently were installed in the public parking lot on the west side of Larchmont Boulevard. They look pristine and high tech and offer touch screens and a plethora of payment methods for parkers. There is a slot for coins, another for credit cards, a chip tap area and a pay-by-app option.

The two pay stations replaced the previous ones, which faced west and were a bit difficult to use when the sunlight hit the station’s screen. When the new stations were installed, sun glare must have been kept in mind, because both new meters face north, making it much easier to view the screens.

But, these IPS Group-designed “smart” meters may need to go back to school. Many users have experienced problems while attempting to pay. On the afternoon we spent time observing customers’ experiences, the meter on the south side of the lot was out of order, and the other one had multiple issues.

Some users found that when they entered their space numbers, the screen showed erroneous numbers and the meter would not let them add any time.

If time remained on the meter from the previous space-user’s transaction, the new parker had trouble figuring out how to add time to what was already there.

At times, the meter would only let a person add a total of 25 cents worth of time to the screen when prompted to “add time.”

Those trying to use their credit cards to pay found that swiping their cards worked just fine, but the tap-to-pay option was not reading the chip in the card.

Joe Russell, who parked in the lot, said, “For some reason, space 113 seems to be haunted. When you click to add more, it just gives random numbers with a minus sign in front of them — even on the app. You can’t add time, and therefore, you can’t pay.”

Eight out of 10 users on May 20 — in a time span of about 30 minutes — had some kind of trouble and ended up abandoning the effort and going to do their errands without paying. Apparently risking a ticket outweighed spending more time attempting to deal with the issues of the one working machine. On other occasions more problems were reported.

Aside from the meter’s payment problems, many users found themselves needing to hunch over in order to attempt their transactions. The pay stations are perhaps perfectly proportioned for those of us in the 5-foot-ish range of height.


A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Transportation told us a technician repaired the malfunctioning meters May 21 and that they are now “operating normally.”

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