Card Not Allowed: meters fail due to New Year’s glitch
by Shane Miller
Jan 08, 2020 | 3006 views | 0 0 comments | 199 199 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A DOT employee reconfigures a parking meter last week. (Photo: NYCDOT Twitter)
A DOT employee reconfigures a parking meter last week. (Photo: NYCDOT Twitter)
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Frustrated motorists returned to post-holiday life last Thursday, only to find that the city parking meter system was incapable of accepting credit cards due to a “Y2K”-like glitch.

Software in municipal meters run by vendor Parkeon/Flowbird disabled credit card payments on January 1, 2020, as part of an anti-fraud security setting.

The only solution was for Department of Transportation (DOT) employees to manually reconfigure each of the city 14,000-plus meters one by one.

The department trained and deployed a team of 200 workers that included additional electricians from other city agencies in 12-hour shifts around the clock to handle the task. DOT expected every meter would be fixed by Thursday evening.

The repairs began at municipal lots and meters in areas where credit card usage is the highest.

“While this ‘Y2K2X’ software glitch was not of our making, we will continue our

round-the-clock efforts to fix all the meters,” sad DOT commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We thank the public for their patience.”

Drivers accustomed to paying with credit cards were forced to find another payment method. Machines were still accepting coins, or drivers could download the ParkNYC mobile app, which requires a minimum $25 initial balance to activate.

A Queens native visiting from her new hometown of Pittsburgh posted on the DOT’s Twitter account that she was forced to use the app or risk getting a ticket.

“So I was forced to pay $25 for $4.50 hours worth of parking,” she wrote. “It’s like paying for a 10-day MTA pass if they only want a single ride.”

New York wasn’t the only city affected. The glitch also caused similar problems in dozens of cities, including Las Vegas, Austin and Washington, D.C.

David Chauvin, chief communications officer for Flowbird, said customers don’t have to worry about any personal information being compromised from the system-wide failure.

“We have experienced no security breaches, and Flowbird immediately delivered a reconfiguration fix,” he said in a statement.
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