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Coming soon: Pay to park with credit cards at several MBTA lots

Posted by Brock Parker  July 13, 2012 04:13 PM

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The cash only payments for parking will come to an end at Alewife Station by the end of July when credit and debit card payment options will come online. Photo By Brock Parker.

Every morning before he leaves home for work, Steve Dahill makes a point to put $7 in his car so he has the money to pay to park at the MBTA’s Alewife Station.

But by the end of July, Dahill and fellow commuters using the Alewife Station will be able to use credit or debit cards to pay their parking fees.

“It’s about time,” said Dahill, who is 45 years old and travels to the station almost everyday from his home in Billerica.

The MBTA is rolling out the credit and debit card paying options at five of its biggest commuter lots this summer, including the Wonderland, Route 128, Alewife, Quincy Adams and Braintree stations, said state Department of Transportation Secretary Richard Davey Friday.

Davey said the payment option will “frankly bring us again into the 20th Century” after the MBTA struggled for years to implement credit card payment options.
“This will be a great amenity for our customers,” Davey said.

Davey said despite the MBTA’s fiscal challenges the state is trying to find some improvement for its customers. The credit card payment systems at the five commuter lots will cost about $1 million, he said. The cost will be recovered over several years as Davey said reductions to contracted garage personnel will result in a savings of $135,000 per year.

Davey said the whole parking system at the T has been “archaic” and he didn’t know whether cost had prevented a credit card payment program from being implemented or if it just hadn’t been a priority in the past.

“The bottom line is we made it a priority to make these improvements,” Davey said.

Commuters will be given the option to pay for parking on foot at a machine where a ticket will be time-stamped and will give the motorists a certain amount of time to leave the parking lot, Davey said.

Commuters can also use a debit or credit card when they are paying an employee at one of the pay lanes at the parking lot exits, Davey said.

The walk-up credit and debit card machines have been installed at the Wonderland and Route 128 stations, Davey said. The payment option will be available at the Alewife Station by the end of July, and will be available at the Braintree and Quincy Adams stations in August.

Credit card payment options will also be available in Salem and Beverly when new garages are completed and will eventually be available in Lynn as well, Davey said.

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By the end of July, commuters will be able to pay to park at the MBTA's Alewife Station with a credit or debit card at one of these machines in the lobby. Photo by Brock Parker.

--Brock.globe@gmail.com

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