|Indianapolis parking kiosk|
Of my last seven attempts to use a credit card at a downtown parking kiosk, only two were successful. Four times the kiosk would not take any credit card I tried (or any that the others waiting to park tried.) On the fifth occasion, it did take a card but would only allow me to put a quarter on at a time. Thus, given I had a project downtown that would take two hours, I had to go through the process of entering the credit card eight times.
Even when a kiosk takes credit cards, there is almost always a line of people waiting to use it. That is a problem if you're pressed for time. The single meters are so much easier to use, even with the credit cards. I have never had a problem with any of them. With the kiosks there is almost always problems. As a side note, I've noticed that a lot of people do not know how to park when the meters have been removed. They instead will straddle two parking spaces, not understanding that they're supposed to park on either side of the metal poles designating the parking spaces.
WRTV last month did a report in the large number of complaints about malfunctioning parking meters and improperly issued tickets, a concern that Mayor Ballard treated with utter disdain.
Likewise, attorney and IUPUI professor Sheila Kennedy wrote about problems her students reported:
Yesterday, in my Media and Policy class, a student raised the issue of how poorly local media had covered the administration’s privatization of the water company and parking meters. That led another student to complain that she had received a ticket despite having paid the fee–and was helpless to prove her payment since the meters don’t dispense receipts.So what can we do about ACS's crappy service? Well, since the City designed the 10 year out provision so that it could never actually be used, we can threaten that if ACS doesn't get its act together, we will not renew the contract when it expires ... in 2060.
Her complaint opened a floodgate. Out of the 23 students in class, no fewer than 8 of them reported similar problems. Several had attempted to complain–complaints that, as one put it, were “blown off.” One student who had paid with a credit card was told the only way she could get a refund was to bring in her Visa bill. Another reported that her credit card was charged twice; when she tried to get the improper extra charge removed, the response was “how do we know you didn’t park twice?”
As Kennedy notes, we gave away all chance to demand the vendor provide quality service