Penny $2.50 Wise, Pound Foolish”
To raise truly piddling amounts of revenue — I paid $2.50 to park for 90 minutes* or so the other week — downtown Minneapolis merchants are easily foregoing 3x or even 10x times that in sales revenue (my very conservative estimate).
And buying their Christmas presents, new clothes, and out-to-eat dinners there.
Those who venture downtown have to navigate a 4-step obstacle course:
Step #1: find an available off-street space.
Step #2: correctly note the corresponding five digit number for that space (each sign has two numbers — one for the space ahead and behind of it, respectively. See photo, above).
If you don’t have a pen handy, be sure to memorize it.
Step #3: walk as much as a block to the pay kiosk (“pay station”), then navigate the confusing menu of choices regarding payment method and adding time increments, to ultimately generate a printed receipt.
Questions: was that 25¢ to add each additional 10 minutes, or 50¢ for every 15 minutes? And was that a 30 minute or 2 hour (or 4 hour) maximum?
Step #4: trudge back to your car to display the receipt on your car’s dash.
Of course, none of the above is helped by a howling wind and below zero temp’s (never mind windchill).
*Like a lot of people, I regard the new, electronic parking system as a sort of digital Trojan Horse.
So, in Chicago, where electronic meters were installed a few years ago, both the rates and “pay” hours (vs. free, like on holidays) have climbed dramatically.