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City installs 50 new downtown meter heads which accept credit card, debit card payments


The Columbia Public Works Parking Utility department is installing 50 new parking meter heads that accept electronic payments.

The new heads will allow downtown drivers to use their credit card or debit card to make payments in addition to the coin payment option. However, they will not accept EZ Park debit card payments. They will be installed over the next two days on the 900 block of University Avenue and the 700 block of Hitt Street.

The 50 meters cost $26,400 to install and are paid for by the Parking Utility’s annual budget.

After implementing a pilot program a few years ago and installing meters with electronic payment options on 9th Street and Broadway, the Downtown Parking Task Force encouraged installing even more due to favorable public feedback.

Users of the new meters appreciate the variety of options that they provide to drivers.

“[The meters] have performed very well,” Steven Sapp, Public Information Specialist for Columbia Public Works, said. “Minimal problems reported by our customers with those meters. They seem to enjoy the wider range of payment options at the credit card, debit card meters.”

The new meter heads will also require less maintenance by Parking Utility.

“The type of meter susceptible to coin jams when people do use coins,” Sapp said. “They’re a lower maintenance type of meter, and we don’t have to empty coins from them as often as we do other meters.”

The Parking Utility also plans to install meters that work with smart phone payment apps such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay. No date has been set for this improvement.

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