The City of Saskatoon is pleading for patience with its new parking pay stations.
With the first blast of winter hitting this week driving temperatures below -30 C, director of community standards Andrew Hildebrandt acknowledged they received a number of complaints.
People were phoning in saying the pay stations were broken, because they didn’t seem to accept money after customers keyed in their license plate numbers.
Hildebrandt said the issue was caused by the cold slowing down the stations’ computer systems. That created a delay between when someone entered their plate number and when the gate blocking the coin slot opened.
Hildebrandt said it’s usually a matter of waiting until the coin slot opens and said the city would find a way to do more to communicate the issue.
“I definitely appreciate that’s not the most convenient thing. But having said that, if a customer’s aware of that, at least they would be willing to put in the time to wait,” he said.
While most machines should work with a bit of extra time, Hildebrandt encouraged people with issues to call the help line printed on the machines. He also encouraged people to try a different pay station if the one they’re at doesn’t seem to be operating.
“I do appreciate in the cold weather that can be a challenge to go an extra half a block to do that,” he said.
Hildebrandt said the same machines are used in other cold weather cities, like Calgary and Edmonton. He insisted they are appropriate for Saskatoon’s conditions.
“They’re operating at a different speed and it’s creating that confusion and frustration for the customer. We totally understand that and it’s not something we’re trying to avoid dealing with. We just want to acknowledge the fact that’s it’s not that the machines aren’t able to work in the cold, they’re just moving slower,” he said.
Hildebrandt said the city is in contact with the company that makes the machines about a solution. He added that the pay stations are still under a five-year warranty provided by the manufacturer.