New meters use coins, cash and credit cards

Rachel Rathjens

Parking Services to evaluate effectiveness after trial run this fall

New parking meters have been installed at several parking lots around campus. At Michael Shwartz, the machine takes cash or credit. Lauren Crist | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

The hassle of rummaging through loose change for parking meters on campus may soon be over.

In early August, Parking Services installed new Pay-N-Display machines in three different parking lots throughout campus. The new machines give students the option of using coins, bills or credit cards.

Larry Emling, manager of Parking Services, said the new machines are not permanent but are an experiment through the fall 2009 semester. Pay-N-Display could replace all of the current coin-operated machines in the future.

“Parking Services thought the pay machines were a worthwhile experiment to see how it was received,” Emling said. “As well as if there was a payback and how well it works.

“The machines are temporarily placed at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, Ice Arena and Michael Schwartz Center. The rec center machine only takes bills, the Ice Arena machine only takes coins, and the machine at Michael Schwartz Center gives the option of credit or coin.

Students say an advantage to the machine is having the payment option of using credit cards instead of coins.

“I like the idea of being able to pay with a credit card,” said Katie Deley, junior interior design major. “It is convenient not to have to carry coins with you to park on campus.”

A disadvantage of the machines, however, is that a student may have to park their car in the lot, buy a ticket for the time they need and return to their car to display it in the windshield.

“The thing that bothers me about the machine is the fact that it takes longer than just a regular meter,” said Megan Brown, senior fashion design major.

Emling explained that Ohio State University’s transportation and parking services installed Pay-N-Display machines a few years ago, only starting out with a few. There are now more than 20 machines on Ohio State’s campus.

Another improvement Parking Services was trying to accomplish by installing the new machines was to make the lots look cleaner by eliminating meters at every space.ÿ

The placements of the Pay-N-Display machines allow Parking Services to end the cost of purchasing new meters and replacement parts for the other 370 meters on campus.

“We were able to free up 38 parking meters in our inventory supply that was depleted,” Emling said. “That is about $12,000 worth of equipment that can be used elsewhere.”

Emling explained that payback will be slow, but Parking Services would profit from using the machines in the long run

“We will evaluate the success of the machines as well as comments, good and bad, and other factors after the fall 2009 semester to determine whether the machines are sufficient to add around the campus,” Emling said.

Contact buildings, grounds and transportation reporter Rachel Rathjens at [email protected].