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Parking pay stations Downtown could cost Tampa revenue | Business

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Parking pay stations Downtown could cost Tampa revenue
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Parking pay stations Downtown could cost Tampa revenue

TAMPA, Florida - Nearly 150 pay stations installed at the end of 2010 to replace parking meters in Downtown Tampa are working so well, the city could lose citation revenue.

After a short learning period where drivers had to get used to paying for their spot in the middle of each block, rather than at an individual meter, the City of Tampa reports parking revenue is up five percent in recent months.

However, more obedient drivers means fewer citations, and so far this year, citation revenue is down between five and 10 percent.

Last year, citations accounted for 65 percent of the Parking Division's $3.4 million in revenue.

"We don't want to base our revenue budget based off of issuing citations," said Parking Division Director, Jim Corbett.  "The city's making it's money by allowing folks the opportunity to pay for their parking and not making it off of issuing citations."

Corbett added that after the $1.1 million capital cost of the 146 pay machines, the city stands to recover some savings each year in reduced maintenance and collection costs.

Citation revenue could also rise again as the number of "courtesy warnings" are reduced.  The city issued 3,212 in the first four months with the new techonology, but since drivers don't receive more than one per car, the number of free passes should diminish greatly.

A random survey of drivers revealed most are happy with the change, especially the credit card option.  However, the few complaints included technology frustrations compared to the old-fashioned coin-operated spring-loaded meters.

Connect with 10 News reporter Noah Pransky on Facebook at www.facebook.com/noahpransky or Twitter at www.twitter.com/noahpransky.

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