"Prosperity always inflates the imprudent, and worldly peace weakens the vigor of the soul." - Peter Abelard

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How Does Wellesley Handle All Those Coins From Parking Meters?

This story was originally published in the August 4th issue of The Wellesley Townsman.

Trevor Clark on the job in Wellesley. Photo by Rhys Heyden
You feed the meters and hustle away, hoping to get your errands done fast enough so you don’t find a ticket on your windshield when you return. But what happens to all those coins piling up inside the meter? Who collects them and counts them?


Wellesley contracts this business to Dunbar, a security company that handles all of the collections from meters. The meters are made by Duncan Industries of Harrison, Ark.

In Wellesley, Dunbar driver/guard Trevor Clark is responsible for servicing all of Wellesley’s approximately 700 meters. He collects coins from Wellesley’s three designated meter areas – Lower Falls, Square, and Hills – every week on Tuesday. The town has 470 on-street metered spaces and 240 parking lot metered spaces.


Clark travels around Wellesley with his rolling cart, owned by the town, which has an intake slot for the sealed collection can of each meter. The cart has a detachable inner container that fills with coins. Clark has to unlock and empty every meter manually. The money is behind several locked layers of security at all times, and never even sees the light of day until it reaches Dunbar’s secure counting room. The location of the room is a well-kept secret. Clark said it takes him seven to eight hours to complete his rounds on a typical day.

Clark also collects from the nine “pay and display” machines at various Wellesley parking lots, which are more sophisticated than meters. Five of those nine machines are located in commuter rail parking lots.

“Dunbar collects, counts, sorts, and deposits all of the meter money,” said Terry Connolly, Wellesley’s Deputy Director. “They’re very efficient, and there’s much less risk of fraud then there would be if a town employee handled the collections.”

How Much?

According to Connolly, the town collected $300,000 in revenue from its 710 meters in the 2011 financial year (July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011). That revenue number does not include money paid to Dunbar for collection/counting services.

Extrapolating, that means the town takes in roughly $25,000 from meters per month, and approximately $6,250 per week.

Put another way, if the town has 710 meters and we assume that all meters are used equally, each meter averages roughly $423 per year in revenue, which breaks down to $35 per month and $8.80 per week. It costs 25 cents to park for one hour in most metered spots.


Trevor Clark and his cart stroll down Washington Street. Photo by Rhys Heyden.

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