Skip to main content

Page last updated on July 24, 2017 at 3:42 pm

Parking Meter Functionality Update


June 9, 2016

For more information, please contact:

Mary Catherine Carmichael, Communications Director, 812-349-2489,


Bloomington, Ind. - Today Mayor John Hamilton announced the following at a press conference at City Hall:


In May of 2013, the City of Bloomington purchased 1500 parking meters from IPS, a vendor in San Diego, California, at a cost of $1,865,175. The City also purchased a license to use IPS software that tracks the amount of money each meter generates. The City financed this purchase through First Financial Bank and is making semi-annual payments. The remaining balance due to the bank is $738,844.00 with final payment scheduled for July of 2017.

Meter Issues:

At the end of his first month in office, Mayor John Hamilton learned that, since their installation, nearly every parking meter had malfunctioned in some way. Between September and December 2015, all 1500 meters were sent back to San Diego, fully diagnosed, repaired, and sent back to Bloomington for re-installation. Mayor Hamilton immediately initiated internal meetings with Legal and other city departments involved to fact-find and determine the broader scope of the meter problems.

The City's Information Technology Services department tracked each meter since installation, and documented problems at a rate of 277 per month, for an overall failure rate of 18% monthly prior to the meters being returned for repair or replacement.

In keeping with his transparency mandate, Mayor Hamilton informed the public about the meter failures at a press conference on February 5. At that press conference, Mayor Hamilton said that the 18% monthly failure rate was "unacceptable." He stated that he had instructed staff to work with the vendor to correct the problems. If that effort proved to be unsuccessful, he would advise terminating the IPS contract and exploring other options.

Issues included frozen keypads, no backlighting at night, coins getting stuck, meters installed at improper depth, inoperable credit card readers, main batteries dying and not recharging, rusting or ill-fitting meter housings, and keys breaking off in the meter box key holes.

Working to Resolve with IPS:

City staff has been working with IPS to correct these issues, under warranty, since 2013. Since February 5, city staff have held weekly teleconferences with IPS to jointly problem solve, and the company sent officials and technicians from San Diego to Bloomington to see the issues first-hand. Ultimately IPS implemented a comprehensive repair and replacement effort.

From mid-December to Mid-February, meter performance improved substantially, although another 78 meters experienced problems, representing a 5% monthly failure rate. City staff expressed that this rate was still too high and IPS agreed and committed to improve it.

From mid-February through mid-June 2016 the failure rate has improved to 2.6%, with 153 total meter failure incidents over the 4 month period. Both IPS and City personnel continue to work on getting to an agreed upon goal of a 2% failure rate.

The last remaining major issue the City is experiencing with the meters is rusted meter housings.

The City continued talks with IPS and reached an agreement on how to resolve the meter issues. The agreement includes the following:

  • IPS will replace the meter housings on every meter. Replacements have already begun and the process is working smoothly.

  • The warranty coverage on the meters will be extended until May 31st, 2017, covering all meters and meter components. The original warranty was to have expired in August of 2014.

  • IPS will provide City meter personnel with preventive maintenance training.

  • IPS will warrant that the meters will experience a monthly average failure rate of 2% or less.

  • The City is retaining liquidated damages of $45,000 to cover staff time and other costs associated with the malfunctioning meters.


For the purpose of comparison, the gross revenue generated in the first five months (Jan - May) of 2014 was $976,000. For the same time period in 2015, the gross revenue was $1,005,000 and for 2016 the first five months of the year generated $1,015,000 in meter income.


The City has collected revenues from the meters since their intital installation sufficient to cover the lease payments and for the purchase and installation of the meters along with the ongoing operational cost of the meter program. Additional net revenues of over $1 million from the meters have been realized for the City, despite the malfuntions.

Staff and IPS have worked diligently to resolve parking meter issues and elevate the parking meter program to its intended potential. The City will continue to track and report meter functionality with complete transparency.