City pulling plug on parking meters that accept credit cards

      EUGENE, Ore. - An experiment born from last summer's Eugene Parking Conference is not the answer.

      Around 75 credit card parking meters were installed in the park blocks area.

      But the pilot program is ending this month

      "The pilot's expiring, so we need to pull out the meter heads and return them back to the manufacturers," said Jeff Petry with the City of Eugene. "We're putting our original coin meter-only meters back in there."

      Each advanced meter costs around $500. Add in credit car transaction fees, and the program isn't financially sustainable for the city.

      Residents and business owners told NewsSource 16 that the credit card meters make downtown more accessible - and said the city should reconsider removing the machines.

      Lisa Oswald at Toadstool Cupcakes said the new meters have helped her business. Potential customers no longer come in asking for quarters.

      "We immediately noticed a big reduction in that and felt like it had taken a lot of stress out of people's ability to park right downtown on the square more comfortably using credit cards versus coins," Oswald said.

      Several parking garages still accept credit cards, and the first hour is free at the city's parkades - and usually free after 6 p.m. and all day on the weekends.

      But the garages aren't for everyone.

      "I don't like garages," said Marlee Fischnaller. "If they go down where it's dark or someone could hide behind a car. If I'm going to park, I park out on the street."

      Fischnaller said getting rid of the credit card meters makes going to a mall with free parking more attractive than heading downtown.