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No-arm bandit robs man on Fifth Avenue!

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The city’s “smart meters” aren’t so brainy after all — as one man found on Fifth Avenue last month.

David Ramirez drove to meet a friend for lunch on March 17, parking in front of Aunt Suzie’s Restaurant, near Carroll Street. He popped $1.50 into the meter — good enough for two hours — at 4:20 pm.

But when he checked the receipt, it informed him that his parking spot would “expire” at 4:02 pm — about 18 minutes before he had even rolled up. It also stated, inaccurately, that he only paid 50 cents.

“It was crazy!” he said, explaining it happened a few days after the change back to daylight savings time. “It’s the perfect excuse for a cop to ticket you.”

Other people have gotten duped, too. Drivers reported faulty meters 61 times on Fifth and Seventh avenues between Dean and 16th streets, which adds up to about one complaint call per day.

Ramirez documented the flubbed receipt with a photo, then placed the billet on his dashboard anyway. He ordered the eggplant and escaped without a ticket — but he’s worried the next guy won’t be so lucky.

“Most people don’t even look at their receipts,” he said. “It’s bad!”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation said that muni-meters are programmed to “automatica­lly reflect the correct time” — even when clocks are set backward and forward for daylight savings or standard time.

The agency instructs residents to call 311 to report malfunctioning meters, but added that no complaints had been logged about Ramirez’s dumb meter.

A few days after the incident, The Brooklyn Paper tested the malfunctioning machine ourselves (in the name of slow news days everywhere).

Armed with a dollar, we found the meter was back in commission, which should make drivers like Ramirez happy — at least until it’s time to “fall back” in November.

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Reader Feedback

Or from Yellow Hook says:
It sure is good news for the suburbs where you can park for free!

Smart Meters too expensive or no change or City parking card? No problem, double parkm or just circle endlessly!

Why is the solution to everything more money?

When do tempory taxes sunset and go away?

The "temporary" sales tax of 1% was just for the duration of WW2. The Temporary surcharge on traffic tickets was for the recesion of the 1970's as was the temporary surcharge on vehicle registration.

How about those tolls? People thought that when the brige or tunnel was paid off the tolls would be gone? Nope - it's to pay off the bond, and the bond just gets re-issued.
March 21, 2011, 9:31 am
Scottilla from Midwood says:
In Portland Oregon, the Muni Meters accept debit cards for payment. Why is that impossible here?
March 21, 2011, 9:41 am
yo scotilla from da city says:
muni meters here accept debit cards, yo.
March 21, 2011, 10:51 am
Max from Cobble Hill says:
Only the truly fertummelt want some schmuck sitting in the parking spot in front of their store all day. Nobody is shopping on 7th avenue for the free parking. These meters. Let them do their job and make it easier to park.
March 21, 2011, 12:45 pm
JJJJ from The river says:
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Why is the solution to everything more money?

Do you have a better, more convenient system for providing incentives? Most people would prefer a $100 ticket over 10 lashes I'd think. What works better than coins for paying for a space? Promising certain hours of labor?
March 21, 2011, 4:38 pm
Andrew from Williamsburg says:
One thing that happens quite often is that people who work in these stores drive to work and feed the meter all day, depriving customers of parking.

The only way to take away the incentive for employees to feed the meter is to raise the price of parking high enough so that they begin to look for free space further away (on one of the side streets), or that they avoid driving altogether.
March 21, 2011, 6:20 pm
david from park slope says:
there goes the side street parking...... I will never go to any store that thinks taxing there customers is good.... Yo dum dum the vast majority of your customers are walkin from the neighborhood.... U just made there shopping harder.
March 21, 2011, 8:48 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I think that this is a bad idea. Raising the fees will only make less want to park there. I don't believe that they will get rid of traffic either. Seriously, not everyone will have enough to pay for the full amount until it runs out. If you asked me, I think that Park Smart is anything but smart. The only thing that will make people smart on will be by not parking there. It's a good thing that I am able to find parking on the street without having to pay. However, it's a secret, and if I said where, then it wouldn't be a secret.
March 22, 2011, 4:48 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
The solution to everything is always more money.

Later we find that we still have the problem, but the money is now spent and gone.
March 23, 2011, 3:50 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
What was Donald Shoupe taking when he thought about this, because whatever it was, I don't want it? How again is making the amount on paying for metered parking higher considered smarter? If metered parking would be privatized, it wouldn't even help the city at all, but rather have the private business who is doing it make the money instead. BTW, this was tried in Chicago and it was found to be an epic fail, and not only were the cost of the parking meters more, but the fines were much higher as well. I wouldn't be surprised that Shoupe was personally sent here by Bloomberg to help screw the hard working as always.
March 23, 2011, 6:34 pm
common sense from bay ridge says:
So, for the price of 2 gallons of gas, you can still leave your car parked at the meter all day. The only differences are going to the lack of parking on the side streets, and more money stolen from residents of NYC.
March 24, 2011, 11:30 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
"muni meters here accept debit cards, yo."

The ones used for regular metered parking do, but the ones that are used for commerical parking don't, which I don't know why.
March 24, 2011, 9:12 pm
Shannon from Bay Ridge says:
We need this program in Bay Ridge!
March 25, 2011, 7:09 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville says:
I could not have written those comments on March 22nd at 4:48 p.m., March 23rd at 6:34 p.m., or March 24 at 9:12 p.m., because I was endlessly driving around Pleasantville looking for a free parking space, but since there are no parking meters in Pleasantville, no one ever moves their cars, so I couldn't find a place to park.
April 8, 2011, 12:36 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
Maybe the guy just grabbed a receipt that had been left in the machine before him?
April 8, 2011, 12:37 pm

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