The Way You Pay for Parking in Philly Is About to Change

Say goodbye to dashboard receipts (and paying with paper cash) and hello to memorizing your license plate number.

plate parking philly

Fancy new technology | Photo courtesy of the PPA

Welcome to the future of parking in Philly.

Next week, the Philadelphia Parking Authority will begin phasing in new solar-powered parking kiosks — meaning the way you’ll pay to reserve coveted street parking spots will soon change.

Instead of the current spot-saving methods (which require you to either use a coin-operated meter; print a receipt from an existing kiosk to place on your dashboard; or, in true Philadelphia style, place an object in your desired parking space), you’ll use your license plate number to save a parking spot.

The so-called “pay-by-plate” kiosks will require you to enter your license plate number, then your parking zone number, and then select a payment method. Take note: The PPA is stepping away from paper currency, so you’ll have to use either coins or credit or debit cards at the new machines.

Enforcement officers will then verify your payment by electronically scanning license plates instead of searching dashboards for receipts. You can still print a receipt (or send one to yourself via text) if you want to confirm your spot.

You can also continue using the city’s meterUP app. (We know you love meterUP!)

The PPA will begin installing the solar-powered kiosks Tuesday, October 15th. Eventually, they’ll replace all existing parking kiosks and standalone coin-operated parking meters, likely by sometime next summer.

The 1,600 kiosks will come from a French company named Flowbird Urban Intelligence. (Sounds straight out of a spy movie!) PPA chief executive Scott Petri said the $10 million that the agency invested in the new machines will be paid for with off-street parking revenue, according to the Inquirer. The new kiosks will replace 1,110 existing kiosks and 8,416 coin-operated meters.

In the meantime, you can use the new pay-by-plate kiosks as well as the existing ones and the 1960s-era coin meters until the new machines are installed city-wide.

Something to consider: You’ll probably want to memorize your license plate if you plan on paying for street parking in Philly in the future. The good news — and I’m speaking from experience here, after using pay-by-plate kiosks in Manayunk — is that once you do, you’ll feel like a very capable human. And parking in Philly will be easier (and better for the earth) than ever. We just can’t promise you’ll find a spot any quicker.

Here’s a video tutorial that explains how to use the kiosks, courtesy of the PPA.