If you’ve noticed that your quarters don’t go as far as they used to in city parking meters, you’re not mistaken.
At the beginning of May, parking meter rates in Charleston increased from 75 cents per hour to $1 per hour. The increase was approved by City Council as a part of Charleston’s 2016 annual budget to assist with the cost of maintaining the 1,700 meters throughout the city. In 2015, 3,370 repairs were performed on Charleston’s current collection of parking meters, 810 of which were jammed with foreign objects — so be cool and don’t do that. But keeping the cost of repairs in mind, the 25 cent increase is about much more than just general upkeep.
According to the city, those extra quarters will go toward a larger program to modernize the parking meters to accept credit cards and eventually other payment options, including cell phones and other devices. The 2016 budget includes $343,000 to begin a three-year process to update the city’s parking meters, which includes replacing or upgrading 570 meters annually. By allowing for the use of credit cards, the city expects to pay an extra $23,000 in merchant fees in 2016, but total parking meter revenue is projected to top $1,800,000 by the end of the fiscal year.