Last Wednesday (11/12/2008), Westborough Train Rider sent an email to mbta AT parking.com. asking who to make out a personal check to for parking payment. This is a pretty logical question - here's the email:
Who do I make out a check to when paying for parking? With the pay increase I am not going to attempt to cram $4 in cash/coins into the drop box. Not to mention I need a receipt and the drop box/cash method doesn''t provide that.
The MBTA got back to Westborough Train Rider pretty quickly. The answer: "Sorry payments are cash only."
Since the parking.com trail led to a dead end, Westborough Train Rider immediately filed this complaint with the MBTA's Customer Feedback, requesting a response back:
I find it wholly unacceptable that the parking lot of Westborough only accepts cash and doesn't provide receipts. With the DOUBLING of the parking rate, trying to jam $4 (cash and coins) into the archaic machine at the Westborough parking lot is going to be problematic.A few days later, the MBTA sent Westborough Train Ride this reply:
Here is my correspondence with the folks at mbta AT parking.com who are listed as the folks that manage the lot. I think the MBTA needs to take responsibility if they want to increase the parking rate. Not having the ability to get a receipt for an item I pay for is bad business. I have also written to the Better Business Bureau.
The MBTA is indeed considering changes to improve upon the current payment systems. Currently the MBTA is exploring cashless payment alternatives to the honor boxes for our commuter rail customers and is hopeful such technologies will be introduced in the very near future.So mbta AT parking.com says "no checks."
These technology will provide a proof of payment and online account management. Similarly, the MBTA is exploring with MassPike an expansion of the FastLane system, currently offered at the Route 128 Garage, to other MBTA parking garages. The MBTA's longer range goal is to extend the same conveniences and assurances afforded bus, subway and light rail customers by the CharlieCard to our parking lots and garages, the commuter rail, and commuter ferry. We are committed to offering our customers the option of using credit cards or smart cards (or a similar automated form) to pay parking fees.
Be assured checks are in fact accepted and should made out to MBTA Parking and inserted as you would cash into the honor box. You may also wish to include the station name and space number on your check as well.
Many customers today pay their parking fees this way.
Thank you for writing.
MBTA Parking Services
The MBTA says "sure, you can pay by check."
Westborough Train Rider wasn't through. This reply was sent back to the MBTA:
Thank you for the reply. Should I ignore the response I got from mbta AT parking.com that said they only accept cash payments at their parking lots?The MBTA was kind enough to respond with:
Yes, please do. I have clarified with Central Parking. Their concern was that their staff might confuse checks with the blank scraps of paper some customers insert into the honor box rather than a pay.At this point, the story should be over, right? Wrong. Here's what happens next.
Sorry for the confusion and thank you for your continued patronage.
The new parking rates went into effect on 11/15/2008. Westborough Train Rider uses a personal check to pay the $4.00 to park. Is the personal check accepted - heck no. So Westborough Train Rider shot this off to the MBTA:
Yesterday I paid with a check and got a notice saying that I had not paid and would be expected to pay the $4. There is also an additional charge of $0.75 and then some fuzzy math that brings the total to $5. Can you please follow up with the parking folks to determine why they are not accepting a check as a form of payment? I would also hope that I will not be expected to pay the $0.75 service charge. Could you please follow up on the status of the check I submitted? Having received this notice I am not sure if my check was taken and will be cashed or if perhaps I should submit another check for $4 in this late payment envelope.
Let's hope that Westborough Train Rider keeps us posted on this parking payment saga. Why can't things just be easy?
On The Greater Grafton Blog, Jenn has a great photo of the parking sign at the Grafton station.