The parking meters in Detroit won't be accepting plastic for the next few weeks. That's because the city has temporarily taken the machines' credit card processing offline in order to look around for a new credit transaction vendor. The meters will still continue to accept coins.
In the past Detroit has used PayPal to handle these credit transactions. Municipal Parking Department Deputy Manager James Canty told The Huffington Post that meter companies sometimes have an exclusive agreement with a particular credit card company. After looking into the matter, his department verified that Paypal did not have this sort of arrangement with the city's meter vendor. For this reason, the city of Detroit is now shopping around for one vendor to handle all of these services.
"We suspended it so we can set up that vendor based on the correct city contracting procedures. There was a little ambiguity whether this was the sole source for [processing] credit cards with the meter company," he said. "We're looking at every area of our business to ensure we're getting the maximum service for the best price."
Canty estimates the meters' credit card service will be up and functioning again in no less than 45 days.
The temporary suspension of the credit card option for meters adds another layer of inconvenience for those trying to find parking downtown. Visitors and commuters must already deal with limited parking availability, fluctuating rates at private parking lots for special events such as sports games and erratic attendance at these lots during non-event days.
Canty said he understands the situation is frustrating for drivers and downtown business owners who depend on accessible parking for patronage at their establishments.
"We ask they be patient," he said. "We apologize for the inconvenience, but the meters do accept coins at any time."
Flickr Photo by @joefoodie