Smart cards — they were left in drawers and glove boxes, forgotten in old wallets, or in some cases, tossed in the trash. Some owners are still holding on to them and using them to park in the Spring Street garage, while others are waiting for the end of April when they can get their balances transferred to the new municipal parking meter system.
Planet Princeton wanted to know just how much money is leftover on all of those Princeton smart cards out there. So last month, we filed a public records request using the state’s Open Public Records Act. A little over three weeks later, we were given a document containing the answer.
As of the end of 2018, $463,367.25 was the total outstanding balance for all Princeton smart cards combined. This figure includes the 10-percent bonus credits people were given on their cards. The municipality began issuing the cards in 2004.
Originally the town’s policy on the old smart cards was “use it or lose it”. The cards had to be used by the end of the year, or users would lose any money left on them. But after residents complained, officials extended the time the cards could be used in the Spring Street garage until April 30 of 2019. Many smart card users who don’t use the garage wanted their money back. A plan has been developed to allow for the transfer of any remaining balances to the new Princeton parking app after April 30, minus the 10 percent bonus, plus a fee.