When you park downtown these days, it may be tempting to pull out your credit card and use one of those fancy new parking meters that take credit cards as well as cash. Not so fast: Some three months after they've been installed, none of the 14 meters are operational.
Bill Knobeloch, the city of Madison's parking utility manager, says that's because of a glitch with the new meters. The first time a card is swiped yields an error message. The second time's the charm, but that's not good enough. "We don't want to have to have people swipe their card twice," he says. "It's just a pain."
The vendor that supplied the meters, Metric Parking, is working on fixing the problem, which Knobeloch says is "probably a mixture of software and hardware." And the city won't pay the company - $8,000 per meter - until the meters are working.
Knobeloch hopes the problem can be fixed. But if that doesn't happen soon, he plans to set a deadline: "We don't want to do that because it took us a long time to get to this point and because we like the machines."