The town of York has lost out on tens of thousands of dollars in parking revenue since May because of problems with newly installed parking kiosks that accept credit cards.

The town, known for its sandy beaches and throngs of visitors, bought 20 new kiosks this year to replace the vintage 1960s quarters-only parking meters that lined the road along Long Sands Beach. It was a move designed to keep up with the times and give visitors a more convenient way to pay than carrying around rolls of quarters, Town Manager Stephen Burns said.

But when the kiosks were activated on May 15, problems began immediately.

The software used to run the kiosks wasn’t working properly with the town’s network and the machines would often go into sleep mode then not reconnect, preventing motorists from paying for parking spots. Users also ran into issues if they inserted their credit cards incorrectly into the card reader, requiring a pair of pliers and some patience to get the card back out. Because the kiosk is a chip reader, the raised letters and numerals on cards inserted backwards cause them to become jammed in the machine.

Jud Foy of New York attempts to use his credit card at a parking machine on Long Sands Beach in York on Tuesday. Foy attempted to use his card three times before paying in cash. Staff Photo by Gregory Rec

“We can get them out, but it’s a pain in the neck for people,” Burns said.

Hectronic USA, the company that sold the kiosks and software to the town for about $220,000, has been working since May to fix hardware and software issues, Burns said.

The problems seemed to be fixed by early last week, but some visitors are still experiencing “glitches,” he said. Hectronic is still working to resolve those.

On Tuesday afternoon, at least one kiosk had tape over the cash slot, while beach visitors successfully dropped coins into others. Jud Foy of New York tried to pay for parking using a credit card at a nearby kiosk, but got an error message. After three unsuccessful attempts, he decided to pay with cash instead before heading off to the Long Sands General Store.

While the kiosks were out of order, the police department did not issue tickets for cars parked in that area. The town resumed issuing tickets when it determined the bulk of the problems were fixed.

Burns said it is impossible to tell exactly how much money the town missed out on because of the parking kiosk problems, but said it was likely “tens of thousands of dollars.” The town collects about $450,000 annually in parking revenue, including from permits and meters, and the use of kiosks is expected to add at least another $100,000 each year.

“Hopefully we’re back on track now,” Burns said.

“Change isn’t easy, let me tell you.”

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

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