Parking Meter Patrol: No Experience Needed

System still not up and running properly

By Peggy Cassidy
|  Tuesday, May 5, 2009  |  Updated 1:07 PM CDT
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Parking Meter Patrol: No Experience Needed

Workers hired to make the switch had no experience in that area, nor did they have the necessary equipment in many cases.

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The company that was awarded a plum parking meter deal in Chicago admitted recently that it was not prepared to take over the job on Feb. 13, when the handoff took place and the system took a serious stumble.

LAZ Parking, a company that does business in 16 states and brings in more than $200 million annually, acknowledges that it was poorly prepared for the task at hand, The Chicago Tribune reported today.

"It was frustrating, but we couldn't do anything about it," an unidentified worker with the company said of LAZ's shortage of necessary equipment. "Groups of us would go out every day -- and only one group had the right reprogramming tool. The rest of us just went from street to street scraping old stickers off and putting new stickers on."

LAZ Parking relied heavily on mall security guards and workers from a temporary job-placement agency -- all with no experience in the parking industry -- to reprogram the city's approximately 36,000 meters and change over the decals that provide drivers with rates and rules, company officials said.


Listen to The Chicagoist's podcast with Alderman Tom Allen and talk of his 30-day wait period around the parking meter issue.


As of late last week, the city counted 278 inoperable meters, The Tribune says, citing the Chicago Department of Revenue.

"City personnel continue to audit [the concessionaire] and perform inspections to ensure meters are functioning properly," Revenue Department spokesman Ed Walsh said.

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