Reston To the Editor:
As a frequent visitor to Reston and specifically the Reston Town Center, I'm writing about a recent experience with the newly installed pay parking system. I realize that the entire system is new and might have "kinks" to work out, but overall I feel the experience was a disaster and an embarrassment to the parking system. A group of four of us parked to have lunch and see a movie. After a five to ten minute session, trying to install the phone app for the system, we were off. Our first shock was seeing that a credit card number, vehicle information, along with an "estimate" of how long we intended to be parked were required or the inconvenience of making a phone call to supply this information (I'm guessing to accommodate the many people that don't have smart phones?)
We obtained the validation codes from the restaurant and movie theater. All attempts to use the codes failed after much frustration and repeated tries. We returned to the garage and after a discussion with a parking
"attendant" realized that he didn't have any idea how to assist with our problem. His only advice was to try again in the morning since the parking charges wouldn't be applied to the credit card until after 24 hours.
If this was anything typical to what other visitors to the town center are experiencing, I feel that all commercial establishments within the center have plenty to fear from this new pay parking system. There are plenty of shopping centers and malls in and around Reston that have a huge number of first class restaurants and other commercial establishments and free parking. I can't imagine visitors being willing to put up with what we encountered during this visit. I know for sure that I won't.