After months of not having to pay for parking in Gloucester due to faulty kiosks, motorists should get ready to roll out the dough.
The city is in the middle of installing new kiosks downtown because the originally ordered kiosks, installed earlier this year, had the wrong modules in them. The new kiosks will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and will take payment by credit card, use of an app and cash.
“We thank everyone for their patience in getting these kiosks rolled out and online,” Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken posted to her Facebook on Tuesday.
The new kiosks will allow motorists to pay for parking using the Flowbird app, a mobile application that allows parkers to pay from their phone from anywhere. The cost of the kiosks totaled $546,992, which was covered in part through a state grant.
The summer of free parking came because the first set of new kiosks had a malfunction — the problem did not allow the machines to accept cash.
Assistant to the CAO Chris Sicuranza said the city did not have pay any additional money to swap out the kiosks.
“The kiosk vendor was responsible for re-adjusting the originally ordered kiosks which had wrong modules in them and, later, computer chip shortages delayed the internal hardware from coming to our city for installation, hence the delay this summer,” he said.
The vendor absorbed the additional costs — approximately $41,550 worth of labor — related to switching out the kiosks.
In any given year, the city usually makes a fair bit of money off of the kiosks.
According to numbers provided by Sicuranza, the revenue the city earned only from kiosks during the summer of 2019 totaled $75,633.80. The summer following was the lowest due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with revenue amounting $32,195.05.
The estimated total revenue for July 1 through Oct. 7, is $59,795.
The actual revenues from parking meters, kiosks and monthly parking pass fees was $420,023.83 in fiscal 2018, $493,895.75 in fiscal 2019, and $359,990.41 in fiscal 2020.
In fiscal 2021, which ran from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, the city collected $266,905.84.
To offset the loss by not having kiosks downtown this summer, the city will be looking into revenue recapture through the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association or federal support waivers.
“We haven’t determined the final cost yet as the kiosks are not all fully operational until training is done internally by month’s end and new software/accounting systems are merged with our current software, so we’ll know more about those figures thereafter,” Sicuranza wrote in an email to the Times on Wednesday. “Regardless, the city aims to pursue paths through insurance or waivers but until we know these figures, we can’t pursue so more on that soon about ways to proceed on this, but again, need numbers to be final, verified, and confirmed across the board before pursuing any action and we are still have a ways out.”
Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford may be contacted at 978-675-2705, email@example.com or on Twitter at TayBradford97.