John M. Raulinaitis displays a printed ticket allowing him to park in an Inman Square, Cambridge, lot in early November 2005. Like many, he doesn't like the system. (Photo: Schuyler Pisha)

John M. Raulinaitis displays a printed ticket allowing him to park in an Inman Square, Cambridge, lot in early November 2005. Like many, he doesn't like the system. (Photo: Schuyler Pisha)

There is near-universal loathing for the experimental Cambridge Street parking system. It requires drivers to put money in a central meter and walk back to their cars to put a receipt on their windshields.

“There are no proper instructions on how to use it,” said resident John M. Raulinaitis, “and what instructions are written is printed in small blue print on a silver background that reflects the sun. And the coin return won’t give you back your money if you make a mistake. It’s a dumb machine.”

The machines cost about $10,000 each and seem to cost more every day in lost revenue: People don’t want to park in spaces controlled by the meters. Lots go  empty — and those who do park there pay more and risk getting ticketed later.

The meters are similar to ones in use in Arlington, where they cause only visitors confusion. Perhaps the best use for our meters would be to sell them to Arlington when theirs wear out.