Chicago gives paper metered parking receipts the boot


Patrick Casey

Chicago gives paper metered parking receipts the boot

By Jermaine Nolen

Chicago Parking meters have gone paperless, making parking around the city less complicated. As soon as old parking meters can be removed, motorists will no longer be required to place a paper receipt in their window after paying for street parking.

Chicago Parking Meters LLC, the private company that manages the city’s metered street parking, is installing new touch screen paperless pay boxes for all 36,000 metered parking spaces. All new parking meters will be installed by mid 2019.

The company’s website encourages drivers to download the ParkChicago app to further simplify the parking process. 

Once a user downloads the app, they can pay for parking with their smartphone and extend time remotely when needed.

“[I use the ParkChicago meters] quite often. [They are] actually my first choice besides using parking lots,” said Bronzeville resident Cory Harris.

The deal to privatize Chicago’s metered  parking was announced by former Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2008. Daley announced the deal worth more than $1.5 billion to lease out Chicago’s parking meters for 75 years.

“I feel as if [ParkChicago going paperless] forces people to get smartphones,” Harris said. “Some older people, they don’t use those apps, and it kind of forces them to get into that lifestyle.”

According to ParkChicago, the new pay boxes will resemble the ones in use now but will have an upgraded touch screen. Although a receipt may be printed, drivers are not required to place it in the dashboard of their car. Parking enforcement will now use hand-held tablets to access a database that shows the status of each parked car. 

Oak Forest resident Skylar Galberth said he commutes three to four times a week and uses the ParkChicago parking spots exclusively because he finds them to be the least expensive option.

“Not having to run back and forth to the meter is super convenient,” Galberth said.

The app requires a pre-funded amount of $20 or more to set up an account. There is also a 35 cent convenience fee applied to cars parked  less than two hours.

Ticketing personnel will be able to search your license plate number, so there is no need to place a receipt in your window. 

The application is able to send users a notification 10 minutes before your parking time is up and will give the option to add time.

West Pullman resident Willie Jubiter said he has never had any issues with parking in Chicago, but is aware of others having issues with parking enforcement.

“It being automated and [being] able to connect the parking meter to your license plate number is a really good idea because it protects you in the event that [the printed] ticket just so happens to fall off the dashboard,” he said. “I’m all for automation, but I would have to see how [it all works].”