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Harrisburg’s new parking scam

Today I parked in a Harrisburg municipal garage. Got my ticket when I entered, and tried to pay when I returned four hours later.

Several poorly written, hand-written notes on lined paper were taped to the payment kiosk. These notes said that the kiosk was now taking only exact payment, that no refunds were being given, that inserting your credit card to pay could result in the permanent loss of your card, and that receipts slips were not printing.

kiosk 2

In other words, you might mistakenly over-pay, because few people carry exact cash for anything, the machine would not give you a receipt for proof that you had overpaid, and you’d get no change back.  What happens if you are in a rush to exit the garage and get on your way to your next destination?  You might just leave a few extra bucks behind to save the time…no doubt that’s part of the purpose.

And we are not talking about nickels and dimes, but dollars only. It cost sixteen bucks to park in the garage for the four hours I was up at the Capitol. That is four dollars an hour, or four quarters for fifteen minutes of parking time (as opposed to one quarter for ten or fifteen minutes like it was until last year). It is a huge amount of money for parking.

And on top of the rip-off parking price, you get zero service, theft of your change due back, and no receipt to prove you did indeed pay.

Harrisburg has some serious challenges, and this parking scam is going to make recovery worse. One of the ways the city is supposed to re-coup its bad debt on the incinerator is lease out the parking garages. Well, here ya go; here is the natural result of that leasing arrangement: All rip-off, no service, outrageous prices, no due process. Really hope the “geniuses” who thought this up are held accountable for this failure.

Wait a minute! The guys who ripped us all off with the incinerator debt never got held accountable, and now we have a whole new set of rip-off guys milking us in new ways. I guess it just doesn’t end, until every taxpayer will have moved from the city and abandoned the place to the crows and the weasels.