Tuesday, January 4, 2011

ParkSmart (aka Brookline Debit Card) Tips

Since we sell them and I use one, I thought I'd give you some tips on using the Brookline Debit Card, which most of us are calling the ParkSmart card. It seems to be most useful to people who drive around in those things called cars, but it can also be used as a debit card in participating stores (including Brookline Booksmith, obviously.)

I've been using mine for about three weeks now instead of lugging around sacks of quarters and I've only encountered a couple of hiccups. For the most part it's pretty convenient. No more quarters! Well, sort of. This is how it works. You put the card in the meter and after a moment your card balance will show up and blink at you. Leave the card in the meter and a few moments later it'll start slowly debiting money in 20 minute increments (25 cents,) all the way up to two hours. It only debits money in 20 minute blocks. So, you can't, for example, put in one hour and ten minutes. For that you'd have to use those dimes and nickels at the bottom of your purse.

One person recently asked if the card is smart enough to know when the meters stop collecting money for the day. Sadly, no. You could use your ParkSmart card all night and the meters would happily collect all of your money despite the fact that they "shut off" at 6:00 pm.

I also encountered one electronics incident when using the card. I put two hours of time in the meter, which is equivalent to $1.50. Just after I stepped away from the meter I heard that ticking noise that it makes when you are adding time to it. Only this time it was subtracting money and moments later it was back at 00:00. Darn! That can even happen when you put quarters in the meter so I do not blame the debit card. I moved to another meter, but now I am careful to make sure the money actually stays on the meter! Electronics are a blessing and a curse at the same time.

Overall I'd recommend the card if you park in Brookline or Coolidge Corner a lot. It's just so much easier than rooting around for quarters. As I mentioned, we sell them and you can always add value or check your balance here, too. And say you remember that you need to send a birthday card to Aunt Gertie but forgot your wallet - you can use your Brookline Card just like cash money!

For even more information go to the Brookline Card website. Good luck out there!

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