I used an Interstate lot in downtown Duluth today thinking it would be a nice solution to not having quarters or cash and also not knowing how long my meeting was going to run. As is often the case in Duluth, I was unable to read my spot number and was also unable to read the spot number for the neighboring spot due to snow and ice. So I paid for 2 hours of parking using my license plate number. About five minutes before my two hours was up I called the 866 number listed on the receipt to extend time.
Problem number one encountered is that the receipt listed two lot numbers. On the top portion of the ticket, it says Lot 2561. On the very bottom of the ticket it says “to extend time at location 3110.” When I called the 866 number I was unsure which number was supposed to be entered.
Problem number two is that when I went to add time to my car, the phone system asked for a parking spot number. I was unable to enter a spot number, so I attempted to enter my license plate number, which the phone system allowed. That process was very difficult when I tried on the phone and also I believe I had entered 2561 since my receipt said I was parked in Lot 2561. At one point I was given the option to talk to an operator if I was having problems. My call rang through and was answered by someone poor guy who appeared to be on a cell phone. I started to say I was calling about parking, and he abruptly said I had the wrong number and hung up.
I then logged into the paybyphone android app to try to increase the time on my spot. I was unable to add time to my car using the phone app because the app only allows for entering a space number, not by license plate number. I ended up just entering a spot number knowing it was wrong in the hopes the attendant (or Duluth parking person??) would figure out what was going on. I returned to my spot before my time expired and my car was there and had not been ticketed.
I tried to call their 1-800 number for feedback and could not explain what admittedly is a confusing story to the customer service rep. He just kept saying “But it says here you parked in spot 21.” I sent an email to customer support. We’ll see if I hear back.
I think the bigger issue (other than me being old and crabby) is that the City of Duluth awarded the parking concession for many, many city lots to Interstate. I like the idea of the pay kiosks, paying by credit/debit card and being able to add time using my cell phone. But there appear to be some issues. Can I forward this information and any response or lack of response I get from Interstate to anyone at the City? Who would that be?
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