Syracuse Common Council to replace 270 parking meters
CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article, the business expected to go out of business was misstated. The company that provides Mobitex technology for the Parkeon Inc. meters, Velocita Wireless, will cease operations. The Daily Orange regrets this error.
The Syracuse Common Council unanimously approved a $2.54-million plan to replace 270 of the city’s parking meters last week.
The technology is outdated and they have to update it
Craig Wilson, legislative aide for the Syracuse Common Councli
“Basically, it’s the updated version of the parking meters,” said Craig Wilson, a legislative aide for the council. “If you want to think of it this way, it would be like an upgrade from an iPhone 2 to an iPhone 5.”
The replacement of the parking meters will take the city a period of three years to complete. The last time they were replaced was more than eight years ago, Wilson said.
“The technology is outdated and they have to update it,” he said.
The update was suggested because the wireless modem within the Parkeon Inc. meters use Mobitex technology to transmit data. Velocita Wireless, the Mobitex network operator in the city, will cease operations after Nov. 1, The Post-Standard reported Sept. 18.
Without this network, residents would no longer be able to pay the parking meters with credit cards, which would greatly hurt the city’s revenue collection. One-third of the city’s revenue from parking meters comes from credit cards, Robinson said.
Robinson called a special meeting regarding the issue last Monday. At the time of the meeting, the council was divided on whether the city should stay with the old meters, which could not take credit card payments, or replace them with new ones, Robinson said.
The group came to the conclusion that the parking meters would be replaced.
“We can’t do without them,” Robinson said. “So they have to be upgraded.”
In the period between Nov. 1 and the time a deal is reached with a new company, Robinson said, the meters will only accept coins and paper bills.
“It could take either 90 days or a year,” Robinson said. “I have no idea at this point. It did take a couple of years for the complete installation of the existing pay stations.”
The city recently began a bidding process in which notifications are sent to meter companies asking if they are interested in three-year contracts that accept both credit card and cash payments. The agreement would include installment, service and maintenance for a cost of $2.54 million, Robinson said.
The company that accepts the bid will have three years to install the meters, but the meters will be in use for several years after. If technology changes during the three-year period, the company will also be expected to upgrade the machines, he said.
These are guarantees that the city didn’t previously have with Parkeon Inc., its current sponsor.
The council does not expect to receive responses to the bids for another six to eight weeks, he said.
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