To the editor:
Your July 12 article (”Parking bonus vanishing”) describes the city’s expanding practice of installing ground sensors that detect when a vehicle leaves a parking space, in order to reset the meter. The goal is to prevent the next parker from using time paid for by the previous parker.
The financial benefit to the city for this double charging comes at a cost in terms of public cynicism: We see our city treating us primarily as income sources and secondarily as a public to be served fairly and in good faith.
Parking Director Jim Hacker says that the practice of double charging for time is defensible, because “People should be paying for the time that they’re using,” as if the city was being taken advantage of. But when the metered time is paid for, the city should not be concerned with who pays for it. If the city really feels strongly that people should pay for their own time, then in fairness, they should use those smart meters to reimburse credit and debit cards for the balance of time remaining when people leave their spaces.
This is a practice to be ashamed of, not defended.