LOST A BUCK?
City parking meter issue being dealt with
Hatters using city parking meters may find their loonies being gobbled up without buying any parking time.
A city spokesperson says the issue stems from the Canadian Mint recently changing the size of loonies and toonies, and city parking meters don’t recognize the new size.
The Canadian Mint however, denied to the News that such a change in size was made.
Melanie Keeler, engineering technologist at municipal works, said she’s not sure when the change took place.
“The 2018 coins have been changed. They are not a whole bunch different. They’re just slightly different, the dimension is just slightly different, so that it is not registering when it goes into the chute of the mechanism,” said Keeler.
Keeler says it appears the Canadian Mint has not told manufacturers of meter and vending machines of the issue, according to information she has received from the meter manufacturer.
The manufacturer of the meters is nevertheless working on new software for the mechanism of the machine, said Keeler.
“We are working with them to get it installed on our meters,” she said.
A parking meter on the street near Medicine Hat Regional Hospital revealed the situation for a Hatter last week. It accepted quarters without a problem but disregarded the loonie without ejecting the coin. The person contacted the city to complain.
The parking meters specify they will accept “valid coins.” What constitutes a valid coin is not specified on the meter. Keeler says the meters accept toonies, loonies, quarters and dimes.
The city has received only a few calls of complaint in the past year, said Keeler. She said it is therefore difficult to determine how often this has happened and how much money has been collected without registering time on the meter.
“I would have hoped they (the manufacturer) had told me sooner but unfortunately we just found out so we are working with them on trying to get things fixed on this end,” said Keeler.
In the meantime the meters still pose an issue and the city is not sure yet how it will make a parking meter user aware that some loonies will be gobbled up without credit.
The idea of posting signs on all the meters is still being discussed as the city tries to determine the best option, said Keeler.
“I’m going to be talking with my supervisor and figuring out how we should address this either like a public advisory or putting signs on the meters,” she said.
The timeline to address the issue is “hopefully sooner than later,” said Keeler.
Certain city parking meters have been reportedly accepting loonies but not giving credit for them. The city says the meter manufacturer is working on software to address the issue.