City should be wary of Cubic parking meters

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I’m sure everyone is aware that Houston is trying out some new parking meters downtown, but there was one interesting bit of information at the end of Lucas Wall’s story that really should have received more attention:

Each demonstration meter is connected to the Internet via a wireless network. That will allow the meters to instantly process credit card transactions. Lewis said a critical piece of the evaluation will be how well each vendor’s network performs.

Cubic Parking System, with meters on Preston between Main and Fannin, has connected its equipment to headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia. The system can send an alert whenever a machine experiences a problem and a local technician can be dispatched. The solar-powered machines accept cash and credit cards.

That’s the same Cubic that’s in hot water because it never delivered a working “smart card” system to Metro.

Why didn’t Wall point that out?

And just for fun, check out this press release on Cubic’s website:

Cubic Awarded $11.3 Million Contract to Provide New Smart Card-Based Fare Collection System to PATCO

Cubic Transportation Systems, Inc., a subsidiary of San Diego-based Cubic Corporation (AMEX:CUB), has been awarded an $11.3 million contract for design and integration of a new multi-modal contactless smart card-based automated fare collection system that will link rail and parking services for the Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO), a subsidiary of the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA).

I hope someone from Metro calls someone from PATCO to tell them how well Houston’s “smart card” system is working.

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Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.