Princeton will phase out a type of debit card that is used to pay for parking at meters and in a municipal garage, so card holders have to use or lose their unspent balance.
In mid-October, municipal officials intend to install about 900 to 1,000 new parking meters that will not accept the “smart cards.” The new equipment, which will cost the municipality $973,167, will have three payment options: coin, credit card or mobile app.
The cards could still be used at the municipal garage on Spring Street until the end of the year, officials said. Once the card is phased out entirely, the garage will accept payment through coin, cash or credit card, as it does today.
In the meantime, officials have announced that refills of the card are capped at $20, that they plan to stop selling the cards in a few weeks and that in early October, card refills will not be permitted.
Cards will no longer be sold starting Sept. 4 and as of Oct. 1, cardholders will not be able to refill them.
“The whole idea is that you use your card up,” Municipal Engineer Deana Stockton said on Aug. 20. “You can still use your card to pay for your parking. You just can’t add money to it.”
She said the card is now “obsolete in the parking industry.”
“Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to find vendors that make the equipment needed to use the cards,” Stockton said. “We’ve had quite a few problems with our machines that distribute and fill the cards.”
As Princeton introduces new equipment, parking rules also are changing. Officials agreed to adjust parking meter hours of operation, now 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, to 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday. Saturday hours are changed, too, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The rules are due to go into effect later this year.
For more information, visit the municipal website, www.princetonnj.gov