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Parking Tokens: A Viable Alternative to Cash


W BY JIMWAHL


HILE CASH-BASED PARK- ing meters are the standard in the industry, token-based systems can offer sig- nificant advantages.


Among them are safety, ergonomics, and the opportunity to participate in promo- tional opportunities with downtown merchants.While safety and ergonom- ics are clearly leading reasons why municipalities prefer tokens, partnering with central business districts and mer- chant groups can provide a real, tangible reason for people to visit downtown – free parking!And getting people to head down- town rather than to the suburban mall is clearly “top ofmind” formunicipalities across the country.


Parking tokens are safer than cash-based parking systems


because municipal employees are not at risk during collections. That is because during parkingmeter collections,workers typical- ly carry hundreds of dollars worth of change – making them an attractive target for thieves.That same employee handling collections for a token-based system, however, is not at risk, because the tokens have no cash value – and hence are of no interest to robbers and thieves. In addition, becausemeters contain tokens


rather than cash (or perhaps in addition to cash) then vandals find them a much less viable target. Keeping vandals away from parking meters can prolong their service life and save the municipality from replacing


themprematurely. While safety and ergonomics are certainly viable reasons for selecting token-based pro- grams, perhaps the biggest advantage that tokens offer is as a tool for downtown merchants. Partnering with downtown merchant associations, business districts,


and other groups helps to promote downtown as a viable place for shopping, eating and recreation and entertainment.


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26 Toll free: 800.667.8743 OCTOBER 2009 • PARKING TODAY • www.parkingtoday.com Direct: 604.430.1476


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