A recent article in the Washington Post noted the installation of forty-one parking meters in Bethesda, Maryland, that now accept payment via credit and debit cards, rather than just cash. This reflects a growing trend of card-enabled parking meters popping up all over the country, from San Francisco to Los Angeles to Washington D.C. It also speaks to the larger migration from cash to digital currency in the U.S. Since 2000, electronic payments (including card brands) have increased share of personal consumption expenditure from 20% to 32% (CY 2010).
Smaller municipalities have jumped on the parking-meter bandwagon as well, and some with significant gusto. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (population 74,900), recently added 300 card-enabled meters to their existing 100, partly as a result of consumer demand as the new parking meters have been the top request of downtown shoppers, according to the manager of the Downtown Bethlehem Association. The city has certainly taken note: according to Bethlehem Parking Authority Executive Director Tom Hartley, “the increased meter rates have more than doubled the authority’s meter revenues…the first two months of 2012 brought in $218,474 compared with $106,670 last year.”
The new meters require a capital investment, but as shown, they can provide more revenue than traditional meters because they are equipped with sensors that detect when cars pull out of a parking spot to absorb any unused time. For drivers, it means less hassle looking for change to feed hungry meters.
It seems the new meters are a win-win for all parties concerned, and that’s the kind of progress we support. Learn more about the ways Visa digital currency is innovating to make transit more efficient for governments and consumers at Currency of Progress.
 SEC filings and press releases for card brands and IHS Global insight for PCE
Posted by: Albert Coscia, Visa Corporate Relations on March 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm