, Salem, MA

Local News

July 12, 2013

Parking bonus vanishing in Salem

Free minutes ending at more meters


He defended the ground sensors and the loss of free minutes on meters.

“People should be paying for the time that they’re using,” he said.

Although some were surprised to learn of the new technology, not everyone was. A young couple parking at a smart meter on Washington Street on Tuesday seemed unfazed by the loss of the free minutes, noting that “they do that in Boston.”

To be fair, motorists will still be able to find leftover minutes on many downtown meters. Smart meters account for only 130 of the city’s nearly 600 parking meters.

Ground sensors aside, Hacker said the smart meters, which take credit cards or coins, are popular. Several local merchants agree.

“I love the smart meters,” said Laura Potter, manager of Gulu-Gulu Cafe. “That’s such a convenience for people.”

Curtis Caswell, manager of the Army Barracks, said they are better for customers — and for him.

“I don’t have to dole out quarters all day for customers,” he said.

Tom Dalton can be reached at

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