Well, I’m back from the right hand side of the country. More on that if and when I can be bothered typing up my journal notes. It was fun.
I now have to deal with a giant backlog of e-mail, feeds and university work, so naturally I’m procrastinating and reading Slashdot instead. This story about parking meters in Chicago made me… do something that’s somewhere between raging and laughing. We’ve had those meters in Perth for years, and for all the many, many complaints Perth residents tend to have about City of Perth parking (and particularly their
grey ghosts parking inspectors), the horror of having to walk a hundred metres or so to a ticket machine isn’t generally one of them.
It did remind me of working in the city last year, though. I usually parked at the Royal Street car park — even though it was a decent walk to iiNet’s offices on the Terrace, the day rate was cheap and there was usually parking still available at the hour I was getting there. In their infinite wisdom, the City of Perth decided to install new ticket machines last year which had apparently not gone through any sort of QC at all; the credit card functionality almost never worked, coin slots didn’t have enough clearance and kept getting jammed by 20 cent pieces, and it was generally a giant screw-up. As a result, you’d fairly often end up calling the City of Perth’s parking hotline, having a whinge at the completely disinterested person at the other end who’d promise someone would look at it someday (clearly not always the same day, since the same machines were often broken for several days at a time), and being given a reference number to write down and put on your dashboard to tell the parking inspectors that you’d at least tried to pay and that they should be merciful and not fine you. (That worked most of the time.)
Depressingly, the one time I got a decent response out of the City of Perth was when I got given $30 in change from a machine in the Goderich Street car park. (I was expecting about $2, from memory.) I called the hotline after a brief moral dilemma and got told by a rather surprised City of Perth staffer (after confirming not once but twice that yes, I really did want to give the money back) to wait there and one of the City’s contracted security people would be there shortly.
They arrived in two minutes flat. Amazing what happens to parking response times when money is involved.