Scranton businesses express concern over parking meter system

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) The way you park and pay in the city of Scranton is changing how people shop. For years, the city had parking meters which allowed visitors to the downtown, to use coins with no minimum amount or time. Now, the new way to pay by license plate could be forcing shoppers to think twice.

The new kiosks were installed in September, you can use a credit card or quarters to pay, but the minimum amount of time and money is causing a shift in business. The cost per spot is $2 an hour.

“It may not seem like a lot but it does deter people, it really does,” said Eugene Philbin, owner of Peculiar Slurp.

“Oh, I think a lot less people come downtown overall because of it,” said Cara Schermerhorn, co-owner of Pink Pedal.

Schermerhorn says since the kiosks were installed six months ago by ABM, the parking authority for Scranton, it’s been a “process” for customers.

“Walk to the machine, put in their plate number, do the credit or with your coins and they’re confused, so they are less likely to stop,” said Schermerhorn.

The women’s clothing store on Wyoming Avenue has seen a shift with more phone orders, which results in customer drive-up delivery, avoiding parking all together.

“Our business is fantastic. It’s always been great, we love our location but we don’t really know what business we’re losing because of that,” said Schermerhorn.

“I know from talking to a lot of people that they are not thrilled about it,” said Philbin. He owns Peculiar Slurp on Penn Avenue and shares the same frustration. He says a majority of those who visit downtown typically leave before the minimum hour is up, forfeiting that money to the parking authority.

In the past, with coin operating meters, the clock would wind down for the next person.

“That was always something nice. If you put in a little extra you know you kind of thought maybe you are paying it forward a little bit. If not that’s okay too,” said Philbin.

Eyewitness News reached out to ABM for comment, we have not yet heard back.

On Facebook Tuesday, we asked you: “How do you feel about parking in downtown Scranton?” To weigh in on the topic, click below.

Join the discussion on our Facebook page.

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