The city has installed new Muni-Meters, presumably to make parking more convenientfor New Yorkers. However, these new meters, which have now replaced 99 percent of the old ones, leave much to be desired. Many do not yield the full time paid for, and patrons often get shortchanged. Some do not get serviced regularly for paper, and cannot cough up the token receipts. Some do not accept coins, while some refuse credit cards, and can cause severe annoyance and inconvenience. A few patrons have lost their credit cards in these meters. Vital personal and financial information can be compromised as a result.
On a windy day, you may get unfairly ticketed because receipts can flip over on your dashboard, and the overzealous, quota-driven agent may write you a ticket — never mind their refusal to grant the five-minute grace period. It seems the older meters are more appropriate for communities where people do not have bank accounts, much less credit cards.
These inconveniences add to the chagrin of drivers, who are saddled with the unenviable task of hunting for a parking spot, only to be rebuffed by bad meters. The unnecessary expense of parking tickets adds up, especially in these economic times.
The receipts also contribute to a messy landscape, when drivers irresponsibly throw them away on sidewalks adjoining businesses. Business owners, who already have to contend with aggressive violations issued by the Department of Environmental Protection, pay an additional price for the actions of these litterbugs.
The city’s Department of Transportation needs to monitor these cash cows more to ensure consumer satisfaction. After all, the total amount of fines collected from individuals and businesses rose from $479 million in 2002 to $817 million in 2012, and it is no secret that city agencies, such as the departments of health and sanitation, have been guilty of overzealous enforcement, in their effort to boost how much money the city rakes in each year in fines.