DOT

Software Glitch Causes Parking Meters Across NYC to Not Accept Credit Cards

The city’s 14,000 Muni Meter machines run on a computer software system that had an unfortunate glitch -- sort of a Y2K-plus-20 type of problem.

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What to Know

  • A software glitch is the reason why some parking their cars in New York City have been seeing an unwanted message when attempting to pay the meter: “Card not allowed!”
  • The city’s 14,000 Muni Meter machines run on a computer software system that had an unfortunate glitch -- sort of a Y2K-plus-20 type of problem
  • The DOT is still unsure when it will have all 14,000 meters back in business

A software glitch is the reason why some parking their cars in New York City have been seeing an unwanted message when attempting to pay the meter: “Card not allowed.”

The problem? The city’s 14,000 Muni Meter machines run on a computer software system that had an unfortunate glitch — sort of a Y2K-plus-20 type of problem.

According to Parkeon, the manufacturer, “the outage was caused by an anti-fraud security setting that disabled card payment beyond January 1, 2020.”

A few days into the New Year and many machines are still not taking cards.

“I tried to pay by card and it said card not accepted,” Jubi Khan, of Woodside, said. “I just went to another one it said it had to be quarters and that was it.”

There’s also a catch: Because the machines do still take quarters, and because drivers have the option of downloading an app to pay by card, drivers are out of luck if they think the city will ignore a parking ticket.

The city’s Finance Department — which collects those ticket fees — told News 4 said there are a number of ways for drivers to pay for the parking meters.

“We apologize for the inconvenience to drivers, however there are a number of other ways to pay parking meters and ensure drivers do not receive a ticket,“ Marcy Miranda, of the city's Finance Department, said in a statement.

The DOT is still unsure when it will have all 14,000 meters back in business. By Friday night, about 1,800 of the meters had been repaired, according to the city's Department of Transportation, who added that they are training and deploying more electricians working 12-hour shifts over the weekend to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

A statement from Flowbird, the company that works with Parkeon to operate the payment system, blamed the issue on a "software configuration error" and ensured cities and users that there have been no security breaches.

“Our company apologizes and deeply regrets the inconvenience that this has caused our customers. Flowbird is taking all the appropriate measures to avoid any similar scenario in the future," said Flowbird Chief Communications Officer David Chauvin.

Other cities worldwide were experiencing similar problems going back to Wednesday. Washington D.C., Austin and Las Vegas all reported similar outage issues.

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