Charleston more than halfway complete with parking meter renovations

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The City of Charleston is more than halfway done with updating parking meters downtown to allow people to pay for parking using a credit or debit card.

Parking meter updates for the city started back in August.

More than half of the 1700 meters on the peninsula have already been upgraded, according to the city's Director of Traffic and Transportation Keith Benjamin.

Many people who live in Charleston have already noticed the changes.

"So it's really convenient. I actually noticed the change today," said Charleston resident Jennifer Waites. "There was a spot right in front of the building, and I just used my credit card, swiped and I was done."

With the old meters, you had to use coins or a SmartCard from the city to buy time at parking meters downtown.

Now, the city is making it so you can just swipe a credit card, add your time and you're good to go.

"That would be much more convenient if we had credit cards for an option," said Charleston visitor Karamie Sullivan.

City documents show that last year, Charleston brought in 30 million dollars in revenue from parking.

Now that it will be more convenient for people to use the meters. That number could go up.

"People are really excited about the efficiency of it," Benjamin said. "They don't have to dig under their car seat to be able to find coins to be able to pay for the meters."

The city's old SmartCards won't work on the new machines.

If you still want to use a SmartCard, where you load money onto a card you can use for parking, you'll have to get one from the Visitor Center.

But most people are excited for the chance to just use their credit cards.

"It's good to have the credit card option because I don't typically carry a lot of change on me," Charleston visitor Kim Dinh said.

The upgraded meters will also let the city monitor how often they're used and when they need repairs.

The design even prevents thieves from installing credit card skimmers on them.

Benjamin said the city expects to be done upgrading all of the meters by the end of 2017.

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