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LA to test parking meters with SMS and credit-card payments

Marc Perton
09.23.05
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Parking meter Sure, smart parking meters are catching on nationwide. But many are like the "muni-meters," which have begun replacing traditional parking meters in New York, and take specialized debit cards called Parking Cards. Unfortunately, the meters don't include Parking Card dispensers; you have to buy the cards by phone or online. So, you end up paying with — you guessed it — quarters. But, hopefully, this will all be replaced soon by a new system now being tested in the heart of car culture, Los Angeles. The new ATM-style meters accept cash, debit, and credit cards, and can also use SMS to send a message to your cellphone when your time is about to expire. You can then purchase additional time simply by replying to the message. Of course, this will bomb in LA since everyone uses valet parking there—let's hope that doesn't discourage the developers from pitching it to New York officials as soon as freaking possible. In the meantime, here's an idea for New York: scrap the Parking Card, and let the meters take MetroCards. Most New Yorkers already have those, and you can pick them up in any subway station.

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