Action Line: Malfunctioning parking meters could cause problems for drivers

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When it comes to parking in a metered stall, every second counts. In some cases, it could cost drivers a ticket.

At the privately run meters on Kona Street, AMPCO tells drivers they face the cost of a tow if time runs out.

But are drivers getting all that they pay for? That’s what a viewer who called Action Line wanted to know.

She put in money for one hour and set her phone alarm for 50 minutes so she would be back in time to add more coins. Instead, 10 minutes before her time was up, she found her car being hooked up to a tow truck.

“That’s a little confusing to me, a little weird,” driver Tati Slagle said.

KHON2 checked into it, setting a timer to verify the time at each meter we went to. Two meters gave us a few seconds extra time when we put in for 15 minutes. Then we tried again with the same two meters, this time paying for 30 minutes. But KHON2 got a much different result. This time, the first machine gave an extra 30 seconds and the other gave one minute of free time.

“If it’s incorrect towards my favor than no, but if it was incorrect and speeding up, I’d be a little worried,” driver Woong Kim said.

Another meter KHON2 checked out shorted us 15 seconds. But at a fourth meter, after putting in four quarters for an hour of time, only registered 45 minutes — that’s 15 minutes off.

Someone unaware may not catch the mistake. It took an extra two quarters for it to kick over to one hour.

“I would definitely check because if you don’t check, then you don’t know what time to get back. I’ll definitely check,” Kim said.

“I should, but not all the time. Like now, I didn’t I put in the money and ran,” Slagle said.

KHON2 drove around Downtown Honolulu and did the same check of City run parking meters, and they turned up all on the money.

KHON2 brought these issues to AMPCO’s attention. The company says they do inspect the meters periodically, but after learning about the malfunctioning meters, they’ll have someone fix the problem Monday night.

“It’s good that the business isn’t losing money, but at the same time, we’re not losing money, so they are able to fix it,” Slagle said.

No matter where drivers park, it pays to give a little extra time just in case.

Last year, the city handed out close to 46,000 parking citations across Oahu.

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