In the years leading up to economic recovery in 2015, just about everything was due for a facelift. Posing alongside overflowing city trash bins and unkempt pedestrian sidewalks stood parking meters that were anything but reliable.
“The city was growing and we needed reliable parking to support it,” said Norman White, Director of Detroit’s Municipal Parking Department,
Old meters surrounding new attractions were causing problems, hindering locals and citizens from having a pleasant parking experience. From years of wear, the meters would often breakdown, but with no online maintenance flag installed, the service techs wouldn’t know until a customer complained. Unreliable meters also meant ticket errors, causing even more disgruntled customers who now lost trust in the system.
“We had no proof of payment if the meter made an error,” said Keith Hutchings, Deputy Director of the Detroit Municipal Parking Department, “Having no proof of payment made it challenging to address grievances.” The consumer confidence in the system was failing and with it, one of the city’s streams of reliable revenue.
“We found it hard to have confidence in the meters,” said Hutchings, “We knew we were losing revenue left and right.”
To get an accurate recording of how revenue passed through the meters was challenging. There was no electronic communication inside the machines to determine how much revenue was received until it was collected and counted by hand.
In addition, it was difficult to maintain the chain-of-custody from the moment the coins were collected to when they were deposited. “The entire process was risky,” said White.