A number of cities are testing parking meters that accept credit or ATM card payments, which could mean the end of the traditional coin machines, the Los Angeles Times reported. Currently, West Hollywood, Calif., is experimenting with a series of meters that not only accept card payments at the machine, but send a cell phone text message warning the car owner that time is running out. Additional money can then be electronically deposited into the meter from the cell phone without having to run to the street to avoid a ticket. Pasadena has just completed a pilot program that allowed drivers to evaluate four different types of "high-tech" parking meters. And City of Los Angeles officials in January plan to kick off an evaluation of 200 multi-space pay stations, the report said. These payment kiosks offer instructions in multiple languages and print a receipt identifying payment and space number. Boston tested 13 pay stations a couple of years ago, but has held off on replacing its 7,000 single-space meters. In 2002, Portland, Ore., replaced 6,800 of its 8,000 parking meters with pay stations. Some, however, feel that the new method is complicated, according to the report. They are costly, too. The new meters can costs anywhere from $4,000 to $9,000 compared to $600 for the coin meters. In addition, the cell phone payment option comes with a service charge of 40 cents, the report said. Nevertheless, Los Angeles officials predict that nearly half of the city’s 41,000 meters will eventually be controlled by a pay station, with each kiosk handling seven to 10 spaces.
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