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City Council Proposes Muni Meter Reprogramming To End Overpayment ‘Scam’

Quinn: 'We Shouldn't Be Taking People's Money When They Make Mistakes'

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has introduced legislation that would require the city to reprogram Muni Meters to avoid some of the annoying situations drivers often face.

“They run out of paper and then you have to walk all the way down to the next one and then that’s broken and you have to walk across the street to find a meter that’s working and by the time you get back there a ticket already on your car,” Midwood, Brooklyn business owner Steven Kazan told CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer on Wednesday.

Currently, if a driver deposits cash into a Muni Meter when payment isn’t required, there’s no way to get a refund.

“Require that all Muni Meters automatically shut off and stop accepting money when drivers are not required to pay at that spot,” Quinn told reporters, including WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb. “The legislation will require Muni Meters to be reprogrammed so they turn off and don’t accept money when they are out of paper.”

“We shouldn’t be taking people’s money when they make mistakes and it’s a very simple fix,” she added. “It’s frustrating, it’s the kind of thing that makes people mad at the government.”

Quinn and other city council members said the goal is to be fair to drivers and stop the “gotcha” tickets from 13,000 Muni Meters.

“It’s quite the scam the city had going there for a couple of years. Throw money in the meter, no paper and good luck getting a refund,” Councilman David Greenfield added. “We’re trying to make it a little fairer. And quite frankly, the city of New York sucks enough of our money, they certainly don’t need to be nickel and diming us and taking every last quarter that we have.”

“We are trying to make the ‘gotcha’ tickets something of the past in the city of New York. We want to stop taking money out of people’s pockets that we don’t have a right to take,” Quinn added.

New Yorkers totally agree.

“It’s very frustrating. I won’t park near a meter for no money because you’re guaranteed a ticket,” Brooklyn business owner Mitchell Spitz said.

Stephen Spitz said not only is the current set-up frustrating, it is also driving customers away.

“I’m very angry, yes. They don’t want to shop here. They say they don’t want to come here [because they] can’t get parking,” he said.

The mayor’s office said it was reviewing the legislation, which would also allow drivers to prepay for a Muni Meter an hour before parking regulations take effect.

Quinn said she is confident the proposals will be passed quickly by the City Council.

New York City parking traffic agents give out about $600 million worth of tickets a year. The proposed move may cut down on the city’s revenue, which wont upset people across the five boroughs one bit.

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