The downside of parking meters

San Diego is in the process of replacing regular parking meters with ones that are called multi-space meters. These are ones that give you a ticket that you place on your dash. I thought that these were neat as I could just pay with a credit card as I usually don’t have change around. My wife, however, pointed out the problem with these is that the minimum is 1 hour on the meter which costs $1.25. I didn’t think much of it until I had to pick something up today and found a meter with some time left on it; I dropped a quarter in it (I do have some quarters in my car) and got another 12 minutes which was plenty of time for my errand.

It turns out that the pay and display meters do take change and apparently you can put less than $1.25 in them. So the lesson is that I still need to have quarters in my car for times that I think I’ll be at a meter less than an hour; otherwise, paying by credit card is quite convenient. Now if the city could just get with the game and figure out some micropayment strategy with lower transaction fees, maybe they could reduce the minimum amount to go cashless.

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