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Oct 30, 2013 8:47 PM by Zach Thaxton

Downtown parking meters now take credit cards

You can now use your credit card to pay for parking in downtown Colorado Springs.  The city's Parking Enterprise is installing more than 800 new parking meters in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs and around 60 more in Old Colorado City.  The new meters will accept Visa or MasterCard as payment options.  The meters are being installed between Cascade and Nevada Avenues from Vermijo Avenue to Boulder Street at a cost of $515,000.  "That was paid for out of parking revenues," said City Parking Administrator Greg Warnke.  "There was no tax money spent.  It was all paid out of the parking enterprise."

The new meters replace meters that accepted payment via prepaid Easy Park cards.  People will be able to receive refunds of unused balances on their Easy Park cards if they wish, however 1,600 Easy Park meters will remain throughout the city.  Warnke says customers have been asking for a credit card payment option for years, but the city didn't want to install card-reading meters until they were confident in the integrity of the technology.  "Rather than being a guinea pig, we thought we'd let the technology prove itself before we invested in it," Warnke said.

The new technology is expensive.  Credit and transaction fees make profitability challenging.  Warnke says that's why the hours of operation for the meters is being extended by one hour in the morning, from a 9:00 a.m. start time to 8:00.  "An extra hour of operation would help offset those costs," Warnke said.

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