New Meters Downtown A Hit With Drivers

Franque Thompson

OMAHA (KPTM)- Omaha is going digital--now drivers can pay for parking in several ways. 400 new smart meters were installed Tuesday in The Old Market and Downtown area.

"Everybody's got a credit card in their pocket. Nobody's got a pocket full of quarters," said Guy Cooper after plugging a new smart meter full of quarters during his visit to the Old Market.

Those people without a few quarters in their pocket, like Cooper, now can let out a sigh of relief. The new meters accept credit cards. Old Market visitors said the upgrade is a success.

"Thrilled to see that we can finally use credit cards. It's been really annoying to have to keep change in my car constantly if I'm down here during the day," said Cara Walkup, while using a credit card to pay for her parking.

The meters still accept coins, but shoppers in the area said they like the convenience of paying for parking with plastic.

"If you're doing anything downtown you're probably going to use your credit card anyway so it's nice to just have it out, swipe it and spend," said Stacey Flowers during her trip to the Old Market.

Drivers said paying for parking is simple.

"You just swipe your card, wait for it to be approved, then you can enter how much time you want up to three hours," said Katie rice, while plugging her meter with a debit card.

Drivers said another plus side to the new meters is not worrying about seeing any parking tickets on their windshield.

"I always end up with a ticket because I'm just out of change. I've had to run in to wherever I'm shopping at and asking them if they can make change for a dollar or something," said Walkup.

These meters were just installed Tuesday, but that hasn't stopped people from having ideas of their own.

"If we could double the parking spots I think we'll be doing all right," said Old Market resident Daniel Thomas.

600 additional smart meters will be installed in the next few weeks. That will bring the total to 1,000 new meters in The Old Market and Downtown Omaha.