The new city parking meters are a scam
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As a non-Pittsburgh resident, I do not shop in Pittsburgh often. A recent trip to the Strip District resulted in a parking ticket, not due to overtime parking but to an error in entering my license number. The kiosk refused to accept quarters or my first credit card. Each time I reentered my license and on the third attempt, the kiosk accepted my debit card and I printed a receipt. By then, I had unknowingly entered my license number incorrectly. Upon my return, I discovered a ticket.
As I studied my ticket, a couple from Ohio returned to their ticketed car. Like me, they had incorrectly keyed in their license number. They exclaimed in colorful language that they would not be back to Pittsburgh to shop.
I sent my original receipt and parking ticket to the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, which returned the ticket with a letter indicting that the ticket was valid and required payment. It seems that the parking authority has discovered a cash cow, the parking kiosk, by which they can extract a fine from people who already paid for parking. Under other circumstances, this would be considered a scam or ripoff, but since this is government-sanctioned it's OK.
I sent a letter to the Pittsburgh mayor's office regarding this matter, which went unanswered. I suggest to anyone considering parking in an area that utilizes kiosks, stay in the suburbs and spend your money there. The City of Pittsburgh wants to gouge you for a fine.
First Published February 14, 2013 12:00 am