Columbia Talks Changing Parking Meters

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COLUMBIA- In a meeting Wednesday, the Columbia parking task force met to discuss the possibility of replacing the current parking meters with new technology. 

Columbia transportation released a report outlining the specifics of that new technology, focusing on three different options.  The first option, called the IPS Media Management System, is a device relying on the internet and cell phone towers, where essentially, you can pay with cash, coins, or your credit card by swiping in a meter-like machine.  Also, after you pay, you will get a receipt sent to your phone and when your meter is about to expire, you will get a notification on your phone.  If you are cutting it close on time, you can add more time to your meter (via cell phone) before it expires. 

Option two is called the Pay-By-Phone System, and in this scenario, there would be no meter, just an authorized number in place of the meter space.  The idea is that you would just pay by phone with your credit card and give the number of that meter space over the phone to verify your parking space.  With this option you would also get notifications of when your meter is about to expire and you can pay via text messaging, smart phone, computer or simply by a phone call. 

Option three is called the Metric Parking System and it does not have smart phone parking capabilities.  There would be different stations downtown where people coud pay for their spot with coins, dollar bills or even credit cards; it would then print out a ticket, authorizing your payment. 

In Wednesday's meeting, the Columbia parking task force vaguely touched on these options because not all of the sub committee members recieved the report.  Instead, they just bounced around ideas.  They predict the new technology will cost about $700 per device, whereas the current downtown parking meters cost about $150 per device.  They plan to meet again on October 19th, where they say they would like to bring in some contractors of the different technology for a demonstration or presentation on exactly how the technology will work.