Parking meters are malfunctioning in York, Maine, giving some tourists free parking, but causing the town to lose out on tens of thousands of dollars in parking revenue.
Parking meters along Long Sands Beach were upgraded this year to let people use credit cards for payment. But according to Town Manager Steve Burns, the software for the new machines wasn’t working with York’s new cell phone tower.
He said Hectronic, the company that manufactures the meters, is working on a fix – and he hopes it happens soon.
“The 4th of July is coming,” said Burns.
He estimates the town has already lost tens of thousands of dollars in parking revenue. Typically, York brings in about a half a million dollars from the meters each year.
“If we don’t collect it as parking revenues, then it comes on to the property tax roll,” said Burns. “We would have to charge property owners this.”
While Burns thought the issue was resolved, several tourists were still having issues with the meters Monday.
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Katie Rago tried to pay for her parking spot three times, and kept getting an error on the screen.
“It says ‘payment session interrupted,” said Rago.
York Police are not ticketing cars until the machines are fixed. Rago was happy to have a day of free parking.
“I gave it my honest effort,” she laughed.
But another family had a more frustrating time. When Lionel Tarbell put his credit card into the machine, he couldn’t get it out.
“It’s stuck,” he said. “This isn’t even cool.”
A phone call to York Police, Public Works, and a pair of pliers later – he got his card back, but decided he wanted to leave the beach.
“They paid over 200 thousand dollars for these [machines]... It’s 200 grand of crap,” he said.