12 Investigates: Company responds to solar-powered parking troubles

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The company that makes those new parking pay stations, popping up in downtown Richmond, says problems with the meters are being fixed.

The meters are made by Digital Payment Technologies. We tracked down a Vice President in the company, and she tells us they are working to fix the problem we exposed to you three weeks ago.

Customers were seeing red over the city's effort to go green. DaQuan Kell was worried about getting a ticket, "they move pretty quick around here."

After a tip from a viewer, we staked out the new pay stations after two straight days of rain. On the 1100 block of Main Street, we watched dozens of people try, and try again to feed the meter. The pay stations would not turn on. The batteries were zapped, meaning you couldn't pay for your parking spot. Fed up drivers left notes to the attendants "parking machine not operating."

We took the problem to the city's parking manager, Steve Bergin and he admitted the eco-friendly pay stations do have a weakness. "Cloud cover... you don't get the sun to the panel, so it's not recharging the battery," said Bergin.

We contacted Digital Payment Technologies and the Vice President of Product, Kathy O'Donoghue told us, "Digital Payment Technologies has over 12,000 successfully deployed in North America, and a significant portion of those meters are running on solar power in variable environmental conditions." She did not address whether other cities are having issues with the solar powered meters, but she did say Richmond's pay station problems are on her radar. "For Digital, customer service is number one and I'm confident that the correct people are engaged and any issues on the city of Richmond are in the process of being resolved."

She says her company is not only working with the city, but with Standard Parking, the company that enforces parking rules downtown.

If you have a problem with a pay station document it. Take pictures and video. There is an option on the tickets for administrative reviews. Not every dispute has to go to court.

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