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UI implements credit-card parking

BY CHRIS CURTLAND | JUNE 08, 2009 7:26 AM

The UI Parking and Transportation Department recently began accepting debit and credit cards, potentially streamlining payment at the university’s 12 parking facilities with cashiers.

Parking-lot patrons — especially those without cash — welcomed the long-awaited decision.

“It started to really piss me off that every time I went there, I had to write a check,” said UI sophomore Mara Van Buer, who primarily parks in the lot next to the English-Philosophy Building. “Who carries checks? It was just really, really frustrating.”

Parking-lot employees felt the same way. UI senior Jessica Egli-Davis, who has been working as a parking cashier for two years, said she notices the convenience, though the policy change has only been in effect just over a week.

“Logistical delays” prevented the system from becoming available sooner, Jim Sayre, an associate director of the parking and transportation, wrote in an e-mail.

Before the parking cashiers accepted plastic, those who did not have cash or a check book had to fill out a “Parking Fee Notice” for the bill. The notice has carbon copies so parking services and the patron both have a record.

Completing the form was no quick or simple task, either — it included information ranging from address to license-plate year to Social Security numbers.

“People got a little pissy about that,” Egli-Davis said.

It was an onerous process for those waiting in line as well. Patrons may not leave before completing the form, which sometimes led to long lines snaking across the lot as others waited to exit.

“People often think honking their horns will make me do my job faster,” Egli-Davis said.

Now that debit and credit cards are accepted, she said, the whole process has become more convenient for both sides. Like her patrons, she is glad to get rid of the “hated” fee notices.

“I don’t know why they didn’t do it earlier,” she said.


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