Will Downtown Meters be Replaced?

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COLUMBIA - The Downtown Parking Task Force will discuss different scenarios to possibly replace downtown parking meters in the future.

The task force will go over three different systems Wednesday afternoon at City Hall. One of the proposed systems involves a company called the IPS Media Management System. Their device would involve parking meters with a sensor inside that beams a signal to a cell phone tower. From the cell phone tower, the signal would then go to a bank where the city could collect the money. This system relies on the internet.

The second system the task force is discussing is the 'pay-by-phone system.' The system allows you to call a number, text it, or use your smart phone to pay for your spot. It also can text you alerts when your meter is about to expire. Parking spots would be based on a number system that would identify all the spaces.

The third system is called the 'metric parking system.' This would involve different stations downtown where people could pay for their spot. A station would not be placed at every parking space downtown. People would be able to pay with coins, dollar bills, or even their credit card. After paying, the station prints out a ticket showing your purchase.

The task force is discussing the different systems partly because the EZ Park card some residents use has not decreased the amount of change desired in the meters. City staff have had to double their meter collection since meter rates have increased.