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If you've tried to park in downtown Albuquerque or Nob Hill recently it may have happened to you. The parking pay stations in the middle of the block won’t take your money or give you a parking receipt.
They're supposed to be quick, easy and convenient. Just swipe your card, enter the time amount, and press the green button. Then you take your parking receipt and place it on your dash. Many of the city's parking pay stations work just fine, but some pay stations, like one on Central near 3rd were leaving drivers like Bryan Pettitt seeing red.
He swiped his card, pressed the green button, but no got receipt.
"I'd like to not be ticketed for parking somewhere,” he said. “So if I can't do this, what am I supposed to do?"
He's not the only frustrated driver we found trying to pay for parking on Central. The machine near Central and 2nd wouldn't take Lynn and Cordelia Davis' money.
"We're going to eat down here and hopefully we don't get a traffic citation," said Lynn.
Mark Shepherd, the city's security and parking division manager, says the city's 58 pay stations are about 10 years old and at the end of their normal life expectancy. He couldn’t say how many are malfunctioning.
"It's hard for me to put my finger on it at any given moment,” he said. “The problems we're experiencing are mainly communication errors, so you could have it functioning this morning and it could be down this afternoon."
Shepherd says one by one over time, the old machines will be replaced with new single-space parking meters.
"If it's an easy fix we can get it up and running. If it's not an easy fix and we can't get it running, we bag it. Make a plan to pull it out and replace it."
The new meters cost about $1,000 each to install -- much less than the $15,000 the city spent on each of the old pay stations a decade ago. We asked how much revenue the city's losing because of the broken machines, but Shepard didn't know.
"A lot of things affect parking and revenue,” he said. "But at the end of the day, parking meters aren't about generating revenue or making a profit. They're about controlling traffic and controlling that space of the parking."
So will you get a ticket if you park next to a broken pay station? The short answer is no, as long as it's not accepting any form of payment including cash coin or card.
So here's what you do to avoid a ticket: double-check that the pay station isn't accepting any kind of payment.
If you feel you were unfairly ticketed, you can contact the city.