Forward marches The Ministry of Electronic Payments, their e-soldiersi taking aim at the “crude” and “corrupt” cash culture. By the end of this calendar year, their latest victim will be but a memory : the coin-operated parking meters in Edmonton.
Here are some photos and reflections.
The cost of car ownership in Edmonton has risen considerably in recent years, largely on account of higher levels of automated prosecution for speeding offensesii and the criminalisation of an arbitrary set of driver actions while behind the wheel.iii Since moving vehicles have been adequately milked (for now), it seemed high time to squeeze those at rest a little more. Y’know, just to balance things out a bit. For fairness. Enter the EPark pay-by-plate system.iv
This latest bit of “progress” have several effects, a few of which :
I. Dissolution of the “hey look, there are still minutes left in this meter! hooray!” phenomenon.v
II. Decreased necessity to carry cash in one’s car or on one’s person.vi
III. More time spent mucking about with unintuitive and unreliable machine interfaces.vii
IV. Automated prosecution of parking offenders using drive-by cameras mounted on patrol cars.viii
V. Door opens for “smart” parking rates that can be adjusted based on demand.
All of which, in one way or another, are taxes on either your time or your wallet and are therefore de facto redistribution from private individuals to the public purse, further padding the coffers of the over-promising local bureaucracy by surgically skimming a little more of your energetic output off the top while also encouraging you to walk, bicycle, or take transitix instead of drive.x
Sadly, this is one of the last parking meters that Saddam is going to be seeing for a while.
___ ___ ___
Kühn is das Mühen,
Herrlich der Lohn!
Und die e-Soldaten
- Red light/speeding cameras are commonplace at the larger intersections in Edmonton. Why ? Because the world is a safer place when yellow light times are cut in half, causing drivers slam on their brakes in order to avoid the taxative traps, y’know. [↩]
- Talking on your handheld cellphone while driving ? That’s a ($287) paddlin’. Talking to your passengers, smoking a cigarette, eating a bag of chips, or sipping on a pumpkin spice latte while doing the same ? While arguably just as distracting, if not more so, these latter activities are permitted under Alberta’s Distracted Driving law, which came into force on September 1, 2011. [↩]
- Yes, every vehicle has to register its license plate with the e-soldiers. [↩]
- Even if you’re very, very well-heeled, this phenomenon can actually brighten your day ! Such is the power of unexpected gifts and charity (i.e. the only sort that matter in this world, regardless of the pretensions of the metastatic welfare state). [↩]
- Sweden went cashless so it must be cool and modern, right ? Just like they showed the world how to be No-dick socialists, which is totally playing out in the exact same centralised dystopic future no one could’ve predicted ! [↩]
- Instead of the more decentralised 1 meter/car, the new EPark system will have one machine every half-block or so, which means line-ups ! And when a machine inevatibly breaks down, you’ll have to walk even further ! Go centralisation !!!
That being said, credit cards (but not debit cards, strangely) will now be accepted for parking. This is dressed up as being “more convenient” and “more efficient,” but this is obviously rank nonsense. NOTHING IS SIMPLER AND FASTER THAN PLUNKING A COIN IN A METER. But that’s not the point, is it ? [↩]
- It’s more comfortable for officers too ! (This was actually listed as a benefit in the report following the trial project.) This not only leaves officers more relaxed, but the efficiency of the new system will free up even more of their ever-so-valuable time for even more important things. Like rape.
- Edmonton’s light-rail transit isn’t too shabby (though obviously not at Swiss levels) – and I take it now and again, as to many businesspeople – but the buses are definitely student/immigrant/welfaremobiles. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. [↩]
- Now Walking or biking isn’t bad per se – at least not unless you’re wrapping it up in your detestably middle class “carbon” banner, in which case it’s entirely reprehensible – so I’m far from opposed to it, happy to leave my car at home whenever I can to enjoy a bit of fresh air and exercise, but that being said, one does have to laugh at the “post-car” economy currently emerging as the offspring of Mama “Everyone Can Haz Socialism” and the Papa “Internet Age,” where a high-end car is to a mid-range car as a Patek Philippe is to a Seiko : a bejeweled and rapidly depreciating trinket that flailingly attempts to signal competence by leveraging the global marketing efforts of soi-dissant “luxury” brands and, with a bit of pixie dust, raise the aspirational 14% above the masses, at least in appearance.
suckersdrivers will continue to pay for the privilege of branding themselves above the plebes. And how. [↩]