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Public Post is a community reporting initiative using digital tools to report on cities and towns across Vermont.Public Post is the only resource that lets you browse and search documents across dozens of Vermont municipal websites in one place.Follow reporter Amy Kolb Noyes and #PublicPost on Twitter and read news from the Post below.

Montpelier To Test High-Tech Parking Meters

Amy Kolb Noyes
This coin-only parking meter may soon be a thing of the past in Montpelier. The city plans to begin upgrading to meters that accept credit and debit cards, as well as smartphone payments and coins.

Picture this: You're running late. You finally find a parking space. You hold your breath and parallel park ... success! You're feeling pretty good until you dig around for change for the meter, and find nothing but pennies.

This is exactly the type of scenario Montpelier hopes to address when it updates the city's parking meters. Montpelier recently sent out a Request For Proposals to vendors of parking meters that accept credit and debit card payments, as well as payment via smartphones.

Montpelier is looking to identify up to three vendors to each install a few parking meters for a three-month trial. The RFP states:

Upon completion of the test period, the City will select a meter system based on its performance during the pilot; its receptivity by the general public and the business community; the features and options available with the meters that will provide long-term operational and service economies; the level of technical and training support from the vendor; and its unit price.

The RFP outlines many technical specifications, including the following:

  • Single-space parking meters shall be capable of accepting payment via coins, credit card, debit card, and smart card at the meter terminal. Credit card readers shall be able to accept all major credit cards.
  • Meters shall be wirelessly networked via the cellular network and connected to a web-based management system. No additional customer software other than an Internet browser shall be required to access the management system.
  • Single space meters must wirelessly notify parking operations staff of any faults, such as a card reader or coin acceptor jam, via a text message, email, or both.
  • Meter mechanisms and associated top cover (dome) will retrofit to the City’s currently installed meter housing base if applicable.

The city's deadline for proposals is July 17. The meter trial period is expected to take place this fall.

Amy is an award winning journalist who has worked in print and radio in Vermont since 1991. Her first job in professional radio was at WVMX in Stowe, where she worked as News Director and co-host of The Morning Show. She was a VPR contributor from 2006 to 2020.
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