Bill Knobeloch, Madison's parking utility manager, says the city is just about to activate its newfangled multi-stall terminals, where parkers can pay with cash or credit.
Why does that sound familiar?
From Watchdog, 3/26/10: "As of this week, 14 of the terminals are in place [and] Knobeloch expects the devices to be operational by month's end."
But even after three months (Madison.gov, 6/18/10), none of the meters were operational, because the meters weren't reading credit cards on first swipe. Knobeloch set a deadline for fixing the problem and subsequently expressed optimism that everything would be up and running by...well, now.
Knobeloch's hope springs eternal. The first two terminals have been running at the Buckeye lot off State Street since Sept. 15, successfully recording "more than 10,000 transactions." The remaining 12 terminals just "need to be turned on," starting within about two weeks.
More than 60% of parkers are using credit cards, a much higher percentage than expected. Each such transaction costs the city 26 cents.
The city has budgeted to buy 100 new terminals, 70 of which are slated to be installed next year. That's the same number Knobeloch earlier said would be installed by the end of this year.
This time, the city seems serious. It's even created a video showing folks how to use the new meters. Step one: Keep your fingers crossed.