ANCHORAGE—There’s a new meter maid in town. Seven days ago, the EasyPark enforcement system took control of more than 1,400 parking spaces in downtown Anchorage.
"They're really focusing on safety-type violations in the first week and some expired meters,” said Rick Onstott, parking director at EasyPark. "The police department did their best to enforce on-street parking but their priorities were with more serious types of violations and public safety."
Not everybody is happy with the change, though. Drivers say the meters don’t keep the right time and they’re paying for the technical errors in miniature orange envelopes
"I think I may have lost money, except I have no way of accounting for it,” said Saye Gatei, a local driver.
Citations are up by 300 percent. Each citation is about $20 with a $15 late fee.
Anchorage police, previously charged with issuing downtown parking citations, wrote an average of 50 per day. EasyPark writes 200.
"It's very normal in enforcing on-street parking in any city to have some folks disgruntled, some upset, some to interface with our parking enforcement officers in a less than pleasant manner,” Onstott said.
So are drivers getting their money’s worth? A non-scientific survey of dozens of downtown meters revealed they probably are.
CBS 11 found only one broken meter, and every meter tested timed out to the minute.
"We're not getting a litany of complaints,” Onstott said. “That tells us our (parking enforcement officers) PEOs are doing a reasonable and consistent job."