No, this isn't from 1962, though I expect this might have been seen as a reasonable price back then. I’ve heard of low-cost parking, but this almost seems to defeat the purpose of charging altogether. Granted, this was not in Cincinnati’s downtown—I recall the meters there charging somewhat more on par with a national norm—but it was in the main street of the affluent Hyde Park neighborhood slightly northeast of the central business district.
Do the math. The absolute most the city can expect to make on this meter is $1.25 a day, if the meter hours run from to , which is most likely the case because the majority of the businesses here are daytime only. One would hope that the city would not operate a street parking system that runs at a loss, but with such limited revenue, it would be hard to imagine the maintenance of these meters and the labor needed for enforcement could ever add much to the municipal budget.
Increasingly cities are rethinking the operation of their on-street parking fee collection systems, as evidenced by studies engaged in
The modernization and upgrading schemes for parking meters in many cities have focused on machinery that expands the media for payment. This includes stations that can apply to a broader number of spaces by printing the receipt that shows expiration time, or those that allow credit/debit card and even dollar bill payments. While these seem like excellent ideas in theory, they have aroused frustration for being far less efficient and more prone to malfunction than the conventional, amiably quaint meter pictured above in
An additional situation that new metering systems hope to rectify is the free rider problem. This occurs when a person pays for an hour at a meter and only uses fifteen minutes, giving the next user the opportunity to “cash in” on minutes that someone else paid for. Obviously most on street parking users don’t see this as a problem—it’s just a great bonus!—but it doesn’t help the city in ascribing a price to its on-street parking network. When a city goes for the bottom-of-the-barrel cost as we see here in
Meanwhile, the City of