NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Avoiding a parking ticket is harder than it looks lately in the Morris Park section of the Bronx, thanks to some malfunctioning Muni Meters.
As CBS2’s Sonia Rincon reported Friday, the defective meters on a busy stretch of White Plains Road have been causing headaches for drivers and business owners alike, and testing everyone’s patience.
“It just told me it didn’t charge me; that the transaction was aborted. Same thing last week on the other side of the street,” said driver Carl Foy. “But when I checked my bank account on the website, it had indeed charged me.”
“Most of the time, it just gets stuck there,” said driver Sheila Sands. “You try to press the button that says cancel, but that doesn’t work, and then you go to the next Muni Meter and it’s the same problem, or a different problem.”
And of course, when drivers are looking for a meter that works, they end up with parking tickets.
“It doesn’t help the business district at all,” said Alexander Arsenis of the Rainbow Diner.
At the family-owned diner, they hear the complaints.
“There was only two meters working on like a three-block radius,” Arsenis said.
And Arsenis and his family believe the defective meters are driving away customers.
“If you’re going to get a ticket, for whatever it is, I don’t know — $45 for the meter, $115 for double parking — and not give them a chance, they’re not going to come back,” he said.
CBS2 tested one meter on White Plains Road. It kept Rincon and her crew waiting a good four minutes before cancelling the transaction. Another meter declared Rincon’s credit card “invalid,” but another accepted it.
And someone took their frustration out on one of the meters. It doesn’t take credit cards or cash, because the quarter slot is jammed.
In fact, out of eight meters CBS2 tested, only two worked completely.
City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said the department does get the complaints.
“And the minute we do, we send our repair teams out to fix them,” Trottenberg said. “But look, we have thousands and thousands of Muni Meters in the city, so we do our best to stay on top of them, and if people have complaints, they can call DOT. They can call 311. ”
But drivers on White Plains Road said calling 311 takes longer than finding another meter.
“Then they transfer you somewhere, and that took at least five minutes,” said driver David Edelstein.
CBS2’s Rincon asked asked Edelstein if he knew the 311 app was an option. But he said for many people, it’s not.
“That’s great for tech-savvy people,” he said. “But it’s not possible for the average older person.”
The city will soon start testing out an app to pay the meter.
“I think once we have pay-by-cell, that will make life a lot easier for a lot of New Yorkers,” Trottenberg said.
In the meantime, drivers here have learned come to Morris Park with cash and credit.
So what are the options if you don’t find a working meter and you get a ticket? As CBS2’s Rincon explained, you will have to show some proof that the meters were broken.
The DOT said all the city’s meters are inspected once a month.