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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Parking goes plastic

Bader Alsuhaim, an engineering student, puts money in a meter before heading to class Thursday. New meters with a credit card swipe will soon be installed around the campus.
Bader Alsuhaim, an engineering student, puts money in a meter before heading to class Thursday. New meters with a credit card swipe will soon be installed around the campus.

UA students will no longer need to carry change in order to park in metered parking spaces on campus.

Digital Payment Technologies out of Burnaby, British Columbia has signed a deal to supply the UA with 45 multi-space parking pay stations during the next few months according to a press release issued Monday.

The new pay stations will replace nearly 400 of the UA’s current parking meters and be placed on campus over the next few months.

“”It’s going to take several weeks,”” said Bill Davidson, marketing manager for Parking and Transportation Services. Davidson said to expect a “”three-month period between now and when they’re installed and ready to use.””

PTS plans on advertising to let the campus know when the meters are installed. The new stations will be clearly marked with signs guiding customers to the pay stations, Davidson said.

The new pay stations will allow students to pay with credit cards or CatCards, according to the release.

“”Hopefully, it makes it easier for all customers now that the new meters will take plastic,”” Davidson said.

UA political science freshman Taylor Ayotte agreed that it would be easier.

“”I don’t carry 25 cents,”” Ayotte said. “”But I always carry my debit card.””

Davidson said the decision to switch the meters out was a long time in the making.

“”We found what was the most common form payment,”” Davidson said. “”People just don’t carry coins anymore.””

UA Dining Services employee Robert Gonzalez agreed that coins are just a hassle.

“”I’m looking for change all over the house,”” Gonzalez said. “”It doesn’t change much, but it’s easier.””

The company’s new pay stations will also be solar-powered with a battery back-up system to ensure the stations don’t run out of power.

ASU and NAU had similar parking systems installed, and the solar powered parking meters worked pretty well for them, Davidson said.

The old parking meters being replaced will not be discarded. Not to be outdone by the new pay stations’ sustainability measures, PTS intends on recycling all the old meters.

“”In the past, old meters are recycled,”” Davidson said. “”Other places use them around the country.””

Davidson also said that PTS keeps some and use them as in-company awards for employee-of-the-month and others.

“”We definitely want to recycle,”” Davidson said.

The plan is for each pay station to serve 12 parking spots on campus. However, because all spaces are numbered and entered digitally, customers can pay at any station on campus, Davidson said.

Digital Payment Technologies claims that the new stations will “”enable the university to increase its parking revenue and operate with greater efficiency.””

The new pay stations will allow for wireless changes to be made in rates for daily or special event parking.

Parking meters account for about 3.5 percent of the total annual revenue for PTS. This is in contrast to parking permits, which make up around three-fifths of total revenue.

“”It’s going to streamline operations and make things easier for campus,”” Davidson said.

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