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Lawmakers Considering Changes To NYC's Muni Meter System

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) --  New York City lawmakers are considering changes to the city's Muni Meter system that could end unnecessary parking payments.

And as CBS 2's Weijia Jiang reported Wednesday, many drivers said it could not come fast enough.

A new bill calls for the meters to be deactivated when parking rules are not in effect or when receipt paper is not available. Currently, if a driver deposits cash into a Muni Meter when payment isn't required, there's no way to get a refund.

"We are trying to make the 'gotcha tickets' something of the past in the City of New York," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. "We want to stop taking money out of people's pockets that we don't have a right to take."

The legislation would have the city's 13,000 meters only accept money when drivers are required to pay. The machines would turn off when drivers are not required to pay, including holidays, weekends or off hours.

It would also reject money if the machine is unable to print receipts.

"If you don't have paper in the meter, the meter should be turned off," Councilman David Greenfield (D-44th) said. "It's quite a scam the city has going here."

Naum Krol of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, knows all about the costly malfunctions the Muni Meter machines can sustain.

"I paid the Muni Meter, and I didn't get the receipt, and I reported to 311," he said.

Ernie Campbell said he has lost money to the Muni Meters, too.

"I just had to pay twice," said Campbell, of the Upper West Side. "There's nothing you can do about it."

On Wednesday afternoon, the City Council Transportation Committee held a public hearing about the meters. And while it is unclear how much it would cost to make the changes, Greenfield said it would be minimal compared to the frustration drivers feel.

Although he has received questions about logistics, Greenfield said he has heard little opposition. He said he expects the bill to become law in a few weeks.

Members of the Transportation Committee will take a vote, followed by the full City Council if approved.

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