Monday, July 28, 2014

Ballston Common in Arlington VA could make parking chargers "consistent" with a programming fix


Here’s a modest proposal to improve customer service at a parking garage, requiring some programming.  The Ballston Common Parking Garage in Arlington VA, effectively used for the Ballston Metro stop although belonging to the County and not to Metro, raised rates on weekends in 2013.  It also drops to a flat $1 after 6 PM until midnight all days.  The problem is, if you park even one minute before in order to go into DC for the evening, you pay the full hourly rate.
   
If you arrive at 5:59 PM, you could pay $5 for an evening, but would pay just $1 if you arrive at 6:00 PM. 

Why not do the job and program the system to charge fairly.  At 6 PM, break the fare into the sum of two periods if the total stay is 3 hours or less.  That’s a pretty simple “IF  … else …” statement.  So in the hypothetical example, here, if you arrive accidentally too early, you would pay $2 instead of $5.  That would sound reasonable and fair.  
  
The ad shown is in the Ballston Common Mall. 

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