Portland testing multispace machines

Portland Central Pay Stations FAQ

Portland, Ore., is testing multiple-space parking machines, which could

be more reliable, save the city maintenance costs and make collection easier.

Over a six-month trial period, 12 machines are being tested in government,

retail and educational areas. Each machine costs about $5,000 and would

take the place of about eight parking meters along a city block, said Mary

Volm, Portland's transportation department communications director.

"We think it might reduce maintenance, and it makes it more convenient

for the customer," Volm said.

Three companies supplied the machines, which the city calls central

pay stations. The machines operate on a pay-by-display or pay-by-space basis:

* A pay-by-display machine issues a ticket that shows a motorist when

the parking time expires. The motorist places the ticket on the dashboard

so parking enforcement agents can see it.

* In using a pay-by-space machine, a motorist enters a numbered space

and deposits money. The machine records the time, but no ticket is dispensed.

The machine itself indicates which spaces have expired times.

The city council will make a determination about the machines after

the trial period, which began July 17 and runs through January 2001, Volm

said. She noted that the pay-by-space machines appear to be easier for motorists

and parking enforcement agents to use.

The city also might introduce credit, debit or smart card payment options

for cashless parking, Volm said.

There are about 6,000 meters in the downtown area, and it's unlikely

the city will replace its current meters just yet, Volm said. If the city

decides in favor of any of the new multiple-space machines, they would be

installed in new districts, she said.

The three manufacturers vying for a city contract include Reinhardt

Australia, German-based Dambach and New York-based Schlumberger Ltd.

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