You parked on the street for an event downtown, and now you’re getting ready to leave. There’s still time left on your meter. What if we told you it can be refunded?
What is a SmartCard?
The SmartCard program offers an alternative way to pay your meter in downtown Charleston. Instead of credit, debit, or change, it’s a reloadable card similar to a gift card.
How can I get one?
Citizens and visitors can pick up a SmartCard at the Reuben M. Greenberg Municipal Building at 180 Lockwood Dr. Head to the second floor for the Revenue Collections Parking Division.
There, you can purchase a card and charge meter time onto it. One dollar buys you 30 minutes, and the card can hold up $300 in value.
How do I use it?
After adding time to your SmartCard, insert it into a city parking meter. The meter will display the dollar value available on the card. Add more time if needed.
When you’re ready to leave, any remaining time can be refunded to the SmartCard. Reinsert the card into the meter to get your refund.
Note: Time can only be refunded onto the same card from which it was originally taken. The card does not guarantee parking or let you park at a meter longer than the maximum time allotted.
Now let’s drive home a few details:
- In 2018, the city’s parking meter revenue was ~$3.9 million. That year, the rate increased to $2 per hour.
- Charleston’s Comprehensive Parking Study in 2019, the city’s first parking study in two decades, found that most people parked on the street.
- Between October 2022 and early January 2023, the city issued ~2,900 parking tickets following the enforcement of weekend parking rules on King Street.
- In fall 2022, the city was planning to upgrade meters to add more payment options in the future.
If this fuels your interest, pick up a SmartCard downtown and try it out.