When the Los Angeles City Council voted last week to reaffirm its 2-year-old policy of ticketing cars parked in spaces with broken meters, blogs lit up with outrage from Los Angeles drivers. It's hard enough to find an empty, legal parking spot in car-choked L.A. It seems downright churlish to penalize drivers for parking at faulty meters that won't even accept their money.
Back before the 2010 policy went into effect, the city would let you park at a broken meter for free. But those were the old coin-only meters, and according to a city transportation spokesperson, 10% of them were broken at any one time — the result, for the most part, of vandalism. (How did they know? When workers repaired them, they found whatever was stuck into them to break them.)
The new coin and credit-card meters, however, are a different story. They rarely break, and when they do, they phone home (in the form of a text to technicians in the Department of Transportation), and they are generally fixed in three to four hours. The city now has 38,000 of the new meters and only 1,000 of the old ones, and those should be replaced by the new year. At any one moment, the city claims, only five of the new meters are broken.