Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Is ParkIndy Double Billing on Indianapolis Parking Meters?

A report has come to me that ParkIndy, aka ACS, has installed sensors on the Massachusetts Avenue parking spots so that the meters, even if there is time left, will go back to zero once a driver leaves a spot.

First, I can't help but notice the irony that ParkIndy said it would cost too much to install technology to sync the kiosks so they all reported the same time left for the same spot. ( As a result, people were getting tickets when they shouldn't have.)  Yet they managed to have the money to install technology so they could make more money by double billing spots.

Yes, double billing.   I don't know why ParkIndy, again, ACS, has the right to recover bill twice for the same time at the same spot.  An article by legal scholar Jonathan Turley sums up my doubts about the practice.
Santa Monica, California is introducing new technology to end the practice of drivers using minutes remaining on parking meters from the prior cars. New meters use internet connections and sensors buried in the asphalt to wipe out remaining time once a car leaves the parking space. It seems a bit unfair. The city was paid to rent the space and I think I should be allowed to hand over my time to another citizen — after all I paid for the rental and could remain in the spot for the full duration. 
I have often thought it bizarre that some cities threaten citizens with tickets if they add money to meters for cars of other citizens to prevent ticketing. I have heard such stories and I fail to understand the legal basis for such a citation. 
This new technology is based on the premise that the rental space is specifically tied to the vehicle  However, I view it as tied to the space. When I rent a hotel room, I do so for a period of time and can presumably allow another person to use it as long as I do not exceed occupancy rules. Likewise, if I buy a movie ticket, it is for one set for the duration of the movie. I can give the ticket to another person to take my seat. Why should a parking meter be different?
I agree.  Thank God we only have 48 more years left on this idiotic contract..


Gary R. Welsh said...

Paul, That's was a given with this smart meter technology. The city will tell you that other drivers were freeloading off the time left on the meter by the previous driver. We discussed that at the time when they were also expanding the number of hours the metered spots operated. The people who issue the tickets are provided incentives to write more tickets. The more tickets they write, the more they are paid. That's why Ballard vetoed the ordinance that would have barred the operator from issuing more than one $20 ticket to a driver on a single day for the same offense. People are getting 3 or 4 $20 tickets for the same expired metered space.

Flogger said...

I guess I am still confused: Taxpayers paid to pave the streets one way or another. However, now the public has to pay to park on that street and pay to a company that did not contribute a half penny to paving it.

Paul K. Ogden said...
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Paul K. Ogden said...

I remember it coming up.

I totally agree with Turley. Those people aren't "freeloading" off the city. The spot has been rented for a period of time. Why should the City, actually ACS, get the benefit of overlapping rent for the same spot.

The principle is similar to landlord-tenant. A tenant moves out early, and someone else moves in, the landlord isn't to get paid twice by the old renter and the new one.

Indy Rob said...

Also, note that ParkIndy gets paid for 100% of the available time when a space is taken out of service, even if that space is only used part of the time when it is available.

IndyDem said...

As you know.. I am one of the most vocal opponents of this sour deal the Republicans got this city locked into for 50 years, but I do want to interject here.
My understanding is that the sensors are not related to the time or the payments of each spot. They are related to another mobile app program called Parker. Its an app that helps drivers find open spots without having to circle around and around. The sensors relay back to another sensor on the light post above the spots. When you log on the the Parker app, it will tell you if there are less than 2 (which could mean zero) or more.. There is a delay as well so its not very accurate. All in all, I never use the app because it rarely gives good info. All in all, the sensor idea was a nice try but its not worth what it cost, whatever that cost was.
In this deal, the one thing I can say I was always a fan of, was the modernization and the use of other technology to make maneuvering the parking system easier.
Having said that, and as has been said over and over again.. the city didn't need to sell off the parking assets for half a century, we could have done our own modernization and kept all the revenue here locally.
Zach Adamson
Councillor, At-Large

Downtown Indy said...

The contract will probably be 'renegotiated' in 10 years after ACS 'proves' it's losing money on the deal.