Single-space meters make up the majority of the District's parking meter inventory, but DDOT is aggressively working to upgrade its technology with a variety of improvements including multi-space meters which offer better performance and reliability. DDOT is also testing other state-of-the-art technology including Pay by Phone parking and digital, solar-powered single-space meters that take credit cards and can be monitored and managed remotely.
The District currently has approximately 13,000 single-space parking meters deployed in the District. The current electronic mechanisms were first deployed in 1998 and were a vast improvement over the mechanical meters that came before them. The meters offered better timing and the use of electronic hand held devices to monitor and record repair and collection activities.
Beginning in 2004, the Department began a program to upgrade these meters with newer next generation electronic mechanisms. This program continues today along with the conversion of some areas to multi-space meters.
The multi-space meter is a solar powered device used to manage multiple parking spaces within a one block area. It is easy to use, modern, tough and smart. Installed and operated by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), it works regardless of weather conditions and its two way communications immediately alert DDOT of any malfunctions. There are currently about 550 multi-space meters in the District, managing approximately 4,200 parking spaces.
The face of the machine features a digital display, providing users with transaction information, including time of day, amount of time purchased, and expiration time. It accepts coin and bank card payments. The machine generates a receipt from an internal printer. This receipt is then displayed on the passenger side dashboard of the vehicle.
Why replace DC's Parking Meters?
Portland, New York City, Seattle, and other cities across the country had many of the same types of single-space meters we have in the District. These meters tend to age and break down more frequently than the new meters. It is often difficult to fix or replace the old meters, due to the unavailability of many parts. The interest by these cities and the District is to have a parking meter system that is more reliable and less costly to maintain and repair than the old system.
Operating a Multi-space Meter
The multi-space meters are user friendly and require only a few steps operate. When parking in a multi-space zone walk to the nearest pay station and either deposit coins or insert your credit/debit card for payment. When you obtain the time you need, you press the green button. The pay station will print out a receipt showing the amount paid, the date, and the expiration time. Simply place the receipt on the passenger side dashboard of your car. You are done.
Each meter has an instruction fascia that displays the regulations in effect on that block and easy to follow operating instructions.
You may use coins or credit/debit bank cards.
Payment using a credit/debit card
To operate the credit/debit card feature, simply insert your credit/debit card, press the green "Maximum Time" button to purchase the maximum time allowed for that machine, or press the blue "Add Time" button for parking time in increments of $0.25 cents. The first push of the "Add Time" buttom will result in a $1.00 minimum purchase. Press the green button to complete your transaction. The meter will print a receipt. Please the receipt on the passenger side dashboard of the vehicle.
There is no transaction fee for using a credit/debit card.
Payment using coins
To pay with coins, simply insert coins until the display shows the amount of parking time you wish to purchase. The meters accept nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollar coins. Press the green button to complete your transaction. Then remove the receipt.
Remember to place your receipt on the passenger side dashboard where it can be easily viewed.
Information on the receipt
The meters will print out a receipt showing the amount paid, the date, and the expiration time.