Grievance calls about the D.C.’s aging meter stock hit a record 116,354 in 2008, but that figure bears little relationship to the number of actual broken meters, D.C. Department of Transportation officials recently told a D.C. Council committee. Crews dispatched to repair a broken meter, the agency says, found the device operating as intended 67 percent of the time.
How is this possible? One explanation, according to DDOT, is that 74 percent of D.C.’s 15,453 meters are designed to self-correct, but are also “at the end of their useful life.” So a person who parks at a meter displaying a “fail” message may return an hour later to find a working meter flashing zero time and a ticket on the windshield — a process that may repeat several times a day.
D.C. officials say modernizing the meters has been slowed by budget shortfalls. Which I think means, “We can’t afford to stop ripping people off.”