For Immediate Release
January 05, 2011
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The City of Boston Transportation Department announced today that it is continuing its efforts to update the city’s parking meter operations and advised drivers to watch for a series of changes over the course of the next several months. Scheduled updates include a rate adjustment, an expansion of the credit card payment option to include single space parking meters and the implementation of a smart card program.
A total of 7,221 single space meters are operational on Boston’s streets and the 107 multi-space meters in operation accept payments for an additional 820 parking spaces. Weather permitting, BTD crews will begin on Saturday, January 8 retrofitting all parking meters to allow for the rate adjustment. Prior to the end of January, this work is expected to be completed on all parking meters in the City. The parking meter fee will increase from $1 per hour to $1.25 per hour, so that drivers will now purchase 12 minutes of on-street parking time for a quarter rather than 15 minutes.
At $1.25 per hour, Boston’s parking meter fees are still bargain priced compared with many other large U.S. cities. For instance, in Philadelphia, parking meter rates are as high as $2 per hour, in Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., rates are as high as $3 per hour, and in Los Angeles, the fee is as high as $4 per hour. Boston’s parking meter fees have not changed since the mid 1980’s when all of the old nickel and dime meters were removed from city streets. At that time it cost $2.75 for a single movie tickets compared with $11.50 now, $1.09 for a gallon of gas compared with over $3.00 now, and $0.22 for a U.S. Postal Stamp vs. the $0.44 that one currently costs.
Boston Transportation Department Commissioner Thomas J. Tinlin said, “For the past few years we have been working to revamp the city’s parking meter operation. At one time, due to old, faulty equipment that was easily and frequently vandalized, only about 78% of the city’s parking meters were operational on a given day. By outfitting Boston’s streets with enhanced meter technology, and revising our in-house maintenance and collection system, the on-street meter operability rate now remains consistent at 98%.”
He added, “The City’s parking meters are now in excellent working condition and we have added more metered parking spaces to those that were already on the streets. As a result, drivers coming into Boston to shop, dine or keep a business appointment can take advantage of increased on-street parking availability in our commercial areas.”
The second upcoming change to the City’s parking meter system will be the implementation of a pilot credit card program at 144 single space meters in Boston’s Financial District. Drivers who park at multi-space meters already have the option of paying by credit card and this pilot program will provide drivers who park at these 144 single space meters with the credit card option as well. The pilot program will be executed in February.
Finally, the Transportation Department will also soon be unveiling Boston Parking Meter Smart Cards. The Smart Cards will be reloadable debit cards designed for use at single space meters throughout the City, with the exception of those single space meters included in the credit card pilot program. When available, Parking Meter Smart Cards will be sold at the Office of the Parking Clerk in Room 224, Boston City Hall and at the BTD Tow Lot at 200 Frontage Road. Eventually, they will be available for purchase online.
Commissioner Tinlin concluded, “BTD is working hard to provide Boston drivers with the best modern technology available to ensure that parking on local streets is simple, convenient and affordable. Most people simply do not carry around fistfuls of quarters any longer and our goal is to see that Boston’s on-street public parking system adapts to this reality.”