When Montreal switched from coin-op meters to the computerized pay-and-go system, drivers were not impressed. Stationnement de Montreal claimed that the new system was an improvement. Solar powered machines. The ability to pay from any station in the sector. The stations would only accept payment during chargeable hours so no accidental payment. While the convenience of paying from almost anywhere was a bonus, there was one obvious disadvantage: how would a driver know if he was parking in a spot that still had time left on the meter? Those sneaky bastards at Stationnement de Montreal make it impossible to tell if a spot has been paid for for or not.
Sure, a driver with a stomach of steel could park and recite a Hail Mary that the spot still remains under the generous overpayment of the previous occupant. This method works so long as this hypothetical steel-stomached driver doesn’t mind shelling out the $52+ for the not-so-occasional ticket (why can’t I find these fines officially listed anywhere???). Ultimately, for fear of this aforementioned ticket, drivers plunk their visa cards and loonies into the pay machines, putting more time on the meter than they actually need and leaving the unused portion unrecorded. As a result, the city collects multiples of meter fees from a spot that has already been paid for.
There is a hack, of course. However, the hack requires the good will of the previous occupant of a spot. Those little tickets distributed by the pay machine record the time the meter runs out. A kindly driver can leave his ticket tucked into the sign marking the spot’s letter and number so that the remaining amount of time is available for the next driver.
While five minutes might not seem like much to leave behind, those five minutes might be enough to run into the post office.