More and more Hartford drivers are swapping coins for plastic at the city’s new “pay-and-display” parking meters in the business district.
The $3.3 million replacement of the city’s 1,600 coin-only meters by 250 pay-and-display kiosks started in mid-October and will be completed by the end of the year, weather permitting, said James Kopencey, executive director of the Hartford Parking Authority.
The new meters accept coins as well as credit cards, and the minimum purchase is 25 cents, up from 5 cents. The kiosk prints a receipt that the driver places on the car’s dashboard. Drivers with time left on the receipt have the option of transferring the remaining minutes to another area that also has the new meters.
The new solar-powered meters are connected through a cellular network to a main database. The authority can keep track of transactions, the amount of money and receipts in each meter as well as damage to meters.
Each new meter will serve about seven parking spaces. But instead of only allowing a certain number of spaces on a street, the new kiosks allow for as many cars as possible to fit in a designated parking area.
Kopencey said the parking authority purchased bus and television advertisements and has stepped up education efforts to make sure the public knows how to use the new meters. The parking authority also added two part-time employees to monitor the areas where the new meters have been rolled out.
“We don’t want to make any mistakes,” Kopencey said. “We spent a lot of money on this for the convenience of the public. That’s why we’re putting so much money and time into the rollout and education program.”
The meters are made by New Jersey-based Parkeon Inc., which has more than 8,000 meters placed worldwide, including in Chicago, Denver, New Orleans and New York.