The 2012 North St. Parking Garage

If you haven’t seen or heard, the Bethlehem Parking Authority installed new automated in-lane pay systems at both the Walnut & North garages.  Welcome to the future.

Probably much like you I feel gross after Christmas (and the rest of last year).  I needed to get back to my gym and feel better, so I went on Monday as I had a vacation day.  I’m a member at American Hairlines Body & Soul just next to the garage.  I saw the new parking garage equipment but the gates were up and everything was free as is typical of the BPA around the holidays.  I appreciated it.

It’s January 3rd, so back to the grind!  When I went back today I had to take a ticket and park.  6:37pm was printed on the ticket.  I pay attention because the gym validates parking for an hour so you don’t have to pay.  It’s wonderful.  WAS wonderful, anyway.  On the way out I stopped to get a stamp and the gentleman at the desk just shook his head and said they didn’t do it anymore.  That was a pretty substantial blow right there as the gym suddenly costs $1 more per trip which might as well raise the price $20/mo.  I didn’t ask too many questions despite how sad that was because.. well, let’s face it.  What the hell was he gonna do?

Driving out of the garage I come to the gate and see the new equipment.  There was someone in the booth as always, but also a woman outside standing next to the new automated payment machine.  She was very friendly and said hello, and instructed me to insert my ticket.  It was 7:41pm, exactly one hour and four minutes later.  I had my dollar bill ready.

The machine says $1.50!  Ughh.. another .50 cents for FOUR minutes?  That’s just great, now we bought the BPA a laser crime robot capable of deadly chronological precision.  Remember that amazing feeling of getting to your car four minutes after the meter was due to run out only to find it ticket-less, despite the time expiring and the flashing red thing?  Yeah, forget it.  Gone.  New meters next month and they just beam your car to the impound when your last nickel is done.  Once upon a time I could drive up to the little booth at the North St. garage three or five minutes late with confidence that the happy little man inside, who was always very polite, would never dream of being such a dick as to ask me for another dollar for four minutes.  It didn’t matter what the sign said because that’d be ridiculous and we both knew it.

Of course I immediately reacted in front of this incredibly nice lady.  I asked her if the machine was serious.  She smiled and chose not to respond, which is probably appropriate as my question was pretty odd.  I resigned to my wallet and found I only had one dollar bill, so I asked her if the machine made change.  Of course it does.  So I put in my five and it made change for the $1.50 I owed it.  Just change, mind you.  I looked around for my three bucks but to no avail.  I counted the change.

RUTHERFORD B. HAYES DOLLAR GOLD COINS.  Rutherford B. Hayes dollar gold coins!  Are you serious?!  Does the BPA have a stockpile of these they’re looking to douche upon the citizens of Bethlehem?  Nobody wants these things!  They’re useless!  What if I wanted a soda from the machine at work, or to pay the Red Box thing, or to participate in any sort of monetary exchange with anyone for anything.  You can’t even give these to kids for Christmas next year because they also know they’re not real money.

I reacted again.  Worse this time.  This poor women just stood there smiling and half laughed.  ”This is all really terrible” I said, to which she responded

“Hey I know, I’m out of a job after this”.

Mission accomplished, BPA.  Installed expensive Little John toll-collector robots, eliminated some jobs, found an outlet for the horseshit Rutherford “might as well be chocolate” Hayes coins, and somehow found a way to tarnish your pristine $60 Musikfest ticket image.