City chooses firm to oversee parking-meter operations

August 20, 2010

Indianapolis has selected a private company to handle its parking-meter operations, officials announced Friday morning.

The city has agreed to enter into a 50-year lease agreement with Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services Inc., according to city officials. Under terms, the city will receive $35 million upfront and a share of revenue, which is expected to increase during the span of the agreement from 20 percent to 50 percent.

The contract is expected to generate more than $400 million for the city over the life of the 50-year deal. It also should result in the creation of 200 jobs, the city said.

ACS plans to spend up to $10 million to replace the city’s antiquated coin meters with newer models that will accept credit cards. As a result, hourly parking rates are expected to rise from 75 cents to as much as $1.50 in Broad Ripple and some busy downtown areas.

A long-term lease deal and the additional revenue generated by higher fees would help the city repair streets, sidewalks and alleys in those areas. The mayor said the $35 million from ACS will be used in part to pay for a new parking garage in Broad Ripple. The city is already scouting locations and hope to announce details in the near future.

Besides higher meter rates, metered hours would extend to 9 p.m. in busier downtown areas and to 8 p.m. in quieter parts. In Broad Ripple, hours would stretch to 11 p.m.

Most metered parking in the city now runs until 6 p.m., with a two-hour limit.

One of the goals of the proposal is to spur turnover at the most valuable parking spots in downtown and Broad Ripple, which would boost economic development and potentially generate more customers for businesses.

The hourly meter rate of 75 cents has not increased since 1975.

New rates would not take effect until later this year or early next year, depending on when the City-County Council approves a manager. The City-County Council could consider the recommendation at its next meeting on Monday.

The deal with ACS so far only involves parking meters. The city is still negotiating a 10-year deal, also led by ACS, to operate all the city and CIB parking garages and surface lots, with the exception of the Circle Centre garages.

The city’s formal request for qualifications, issued in February, asked for proposals to oversee all 3,600 metered parking spaces; two city parking garages; two state-owned parking garages and one surface lot; three downtown garages now managed by Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group; planned surface and garage parking at the new Wishard Memorial Hospital; and three surface lots and one garage now operated by Marion County’s Capital Improvement Board.

Under the hybrid parking management system, locally based Denison Parking handles meter enforcement while city employees are responsible for meter maintenance and coin collection. The parking team also includes Indianapolis-based Evens Time Inc.

Under the city’s proposal with ACS, Denison will continue to oversee enforcement.

As IBJ reported earlier this year, Indianapolis received 16 responses to its privatization plan and narrowed the number down to seven.

City leaders undoubtedly hope their deal produces better results than a high-profile state contract involving ACS. The firm was one of 10 companies that won a $1 billion, IBM-led contract with the state to privatize Indiana Family & Social Services claims processing. Gov. Daniels ultimately canceled the agreement in October after numerous problems, and FSSA and IBM each have filed lawsuits against the other in Marion County over the cancellation.



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