Tuesday, March 8, 2011

ACS's Bait and Switch; Company Only Providing City With Parking Meter Tops

Last year Indianapolis residents were told by the Ballard administration that, in return for the estimated one billion dollars of revenue that city residents will be paying to Texas-based ACS over the next 50 years, ACS would be providing the City with the hardware, i.e. shiny new parking meters to replace our bent and rusty ones that only took only change.  We were promised that these would impress those coming to our fair city in 2012 for the Super Bowl.

Think again.   Our city leaders apparently only bought the tops of the meters.

Existing Indianapolis Parking Meter
Just The Very Top Above the Coin Slot is Being Replaced
Kim King of Fox 59 recently reported on the installation of meter tops by ACS.  She explains that only the part of the meters just above the coin slot is being replaced.   If you watch the video closely you'll see tops that are placed on rusty meters.  In her report she seems to pass over the significance of that.

All over the city we have rusty and bent parking meters.  The brand new credit card tops placed on old, rust and bent parking meters are going to look ridiculous and will not impress anyone. 

Looking over the contract, I didn't see where it was clearly spelled out what hardware ACS would have to provide.  One would think that the city's negotiators, wanting the city to look nice for the Super Bowl, would have demanded that ACS replace meters not just provide the credit card device which is installed on top of the meters.    But then again, I think all ACS cares about is making money off Indianapolis resident, not making our city look better.

Note:  I provide a photograph of a double meter to give readers an idea of what is being replaced.  This double meter though is relatively new.  Many of the older single meters are rusted.


Gary R. Welsh said...

Paul, Those meters are only temporary. The multi-space boxes will replace those meters by the end of the year. This was explained in news reports on their installation. They simply wanted to get an electronic meter in place as quickly as possible in order to start generating the higher anticipated revenues.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Thanks, Gary, I didn't recall that and others I talked to didn't either. YOu generally have an excellent memor about such things.

I'm not sure though how doing the tops of all those meters would be faster than chopping them down and installing the multispace boxes. After all, how much time has passed since the contract passed... five or six months?

Gary R. Welsh said...

I would be curious where ACS got these meters it is using only for a few months and then taking out. The only reason to install these temporarily was to gain control of the system sooner than it could by installing the permanent boxes. Most of the initial payment I expect will wind up going to build the parking garage in Broad Ripple. I'm betting Ryan Vaughn already knows who is getting the parking garage deal up there and the company is represented by his law firm.