Sunday April 20, 2014

Jury's out on new parking kiosks

They’ll go live starting Tuesday — the first 52 of 90 parking kiosks that are replacing the old-style meters downtown.

There have been a lot of questions about them since council began discussing the change proposed by the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Area in summer 2012, including whether having to pay twice as much will drive shoppers away from downtown, whether the $1.7-million cost to modernize is worth swallowing for a system that will purportedly require less maintenance and if they will be a hassle for users, especially given we’ll also have to walk a few more feet to pay.

The verdict’s still out, but in the meantime, the City and KCBIA deserve credit for doing absolutely everything possible to prepare people for the change.

For those who like to read, there’s written descriptions at outlining payment options, how long people can park, the need to enter your licence plate and a link to a 37-second video providing an overview on the change.

There is also a more detailed, minute-long video that walks people through step by step (park, remember your licence plate, enter this info with required time into kiosk, pay with coins or credit cards and walk away — no need to put a ticket in your vehicle window).

Businesspeople got a sneak peek earlier in the week with a demo meter in a downtown coffee shop, followed by daily training sessions for the public with a BIA staffer right there to show how it works and answer questions.

Some might say, “How tough can it be, it’s a parking meter?” but change is daunting for some and being proactive is a smart move, plus in the BIA’s interest so those who might shy from downtown will have fewer reasons to.

The only dart we’ll throw is at the curious decision to hand out small cards that drivers can write their licence plate number on, then clip onto their key ring. 

Doesn’t making it easier for you to remember your plate also make your vehicle a target for thieves if you happen to lose your keys?

Thumbs up to the overall efforts so far, but we’ll take a pass on offering criminals any extra tool.

We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.

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