From Chicago: the PayStation
Just got back from Chicago and the annual meeting of the American Medical Association; we did our usual round of complaining, but we also sent 400 medical students out into the streets (well, the stadiums) to advocate for the uninsured, and we passed some damn good policy in a number of areas. While there, I encountered an amazing urban innovation: the PayStation (warning, 3MB PDF). It’s a blue-box vending machine, scattered around the city, at which you can pay your parking tickets, city fees, and taxes.
I’m not sure whether this is a stroke of genius or idiocy. I suppose it has the potential to allow elimination of some patronage jobs in City Hall (good luck, given that Chicago’s Democratic politics put us to shame), and it’s nice to be able to pay by credit card without a “convenience fee”, but do people really fail to pay parking tickets simply because there wasn’t a little ATM thingy in their neighborhood? I, at least, generally fail to pay parking tickets because I’m in traffic court explaining to the judge why said ticket is unfair. (3 for 3 thus far, and kudos to the poor judge who sits there all day and listens to sob stories like mine.)
You tell me: would you want to see these things come to Pittsburgh? Me, I’d rather have more Council to Go.