Several lots offer free parking after vendor goes bankrupt

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You can now park at a popular Waikiki parking lot for free while the city scrambles to find a vendor to monitor the lot.

Visitors who tried to pay at the Honolulu Zoo public parking lot discovered all 10 pay boxes covered in a sticky, putty-like substance to prevent people from using the credit card or change slots.

A city spokesperson said it will not be able to collect parking fees until a new vendor is found and there is no set date on how long that will take.

It was a pleasant surprise for visitors who took advantage of the free parking.

“I think it’s pretty great,” said Waianae resident Michael McGowan. “I mean, you can spend a lot of money trying to find a place and stay there for a good while, so you’re shelling out some bucks.”

KHON2 found out that contractor Moana Parking was put in as a last-minute substitute just last month after another company, APARC, defaulted on its loans.

According to a statement from Department of Enterprise Services Director Designate Guy Kaulukukui:

“We were informed on 4/17, Friday around 2 p.m. that Moana Parking will be filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, ending operations immediately. Since Friday, the zoo parking lot was without a mechanism to collect parking fees. DES is currently in the process of finding a replacement vendor to manage the zoo parking lot.”

Moana Parking owns the pay boxes.

The city said it immediately had concerns about credit-card skimming and asked Moana to remove the machines. Meanwhile, it placed “out of order” signs on all of the pay boxes in the lot.

By Saturday morning, the signs were removed and the machines were not disabled.

The city says it took matters into its own hands by replacing the signs and filling the credit-card reader slots with the putty-like substance to protect the public from illegal credit-card skimming.

Meanwhile, the city says it stands to lose about $45,000 in revenue that the parking lot brings per month.

“We’ll be coming out here a little more… parking for free,” said Ewa Beach resident Kristi Anderson.

APARC also managed parking at Diamond Head State Monument and Nuuanu Pali State Wayside (Pali Lookout) on Oahu and Akaka Falls State Park on the Big Island.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources confirmed it is also temporarily waiving parking and entrance fees at those state parks as the transition is made to new parking concessionaires.

The parks will all remain open during normal park hours. Iao Valley State Monument and Hapuna State Recreation Area are not affected by situation.

“Our priority during this interim is to manage the crowds safely and vehicles at Diamond Head and to keep everyone safe,” said state parks administrator Dan Quinn. “We will work to implement new parking concessions as soon as possible.”

The three parks average about $5,000 in daily parking revenue combined, DLNR said.

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