Tip to D.C. motorists: if a city parking meter appears to be broken when you need to use it, you mustn't *assume* that this means you get to park for free.
Instead, you should get in your car and drive as far away from the District as possible, because that parking meter is trying to destroy you.
According to D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) officials, a record 116,354 "grievance calls" were placed in 2008 from people complaining about broken parking meters.
DDOT officials added, however, that the crews dispatched to fix "broken meters" found them working fine 67 percent of the time.
Setting aside the obvious number of people who made up the "Uh, uh, it was broken" excuse to get out of paying their tickets, what's to account for non-liars' stories?
Oh, just a Robot War, that's all:
How is this possible? One explanation, according to DDOT, is that 74 percent of D.C.’s 15,453 meters are designed to self-correct, but are also “at the end of their useful life.” So a person who parks at a meter displaying a “fail” message may return an hour later to find a working meter flashing zero time and a ticket on the windshield — a process that may repeat several times a day. [...]
“It was a news flash to me that we had this huge number of meters that are self-repairing,” Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham, chairman of the public works committee, said Thursday.
Just in case you missed that, the "chairman of the public works committee" had no idea that our parking meters are built with minds of their own and feign death only to steal your money later.
Is it too late to stop the Machines?
Jim Newell is the Robot War Columnist for Wonkette and IvyGate.