How does the parking meter work in the US?

Have you just parked and now would you like to pay for the stop? You are in front of the parking meter but do not know where to start? Do not worry!! We explain to you how the parking meter works in the USA!

If we had this guide when we arrived in California, we would have saved a lot of money, time and problems. So we are sure it will be useful!

The Labyrinth of road signs

First, before parking the car, ask yourself a question: can I park here? In the USA there are thousands of different signs from each other, each with a very precise description of what can and cannot be done. Surely, however, at first glance they seem indecipherable.

Quokka Recommend: if you see a sign saying “TOW-AWAY” stay away! It is the translation of our “Forced Removal” sign, but in the United States they do not go very well in these cases.

On the signs there are written all the information you need, let’s take a couple of examples.

Limited parking

Cartello PARKING

In this case do not be scared by the first part “No-Parking” in red! If you notice, just below the threat, it says that you can NOT park on Wednesdays from 7 to 9 am for street cleaning. So, in all other cases, you can park and below is indicated when and how: maximum 2 hours of rest, from 8 am to 6 pm from Monday to Friday, except for residents with a ticket. This means that in all other cases (Saturday and Sunday all day and from Monday to Friday after 6 pm and until 8 am) you can park freely without time limits!

Free parking


In this case, parking is free! You can leave the car without time limits. Except Tuesday and Thursday from 2 to 6 am you CANNOT park for street cleaning.

How does the parking meter work in the US?

Now we come to us, on the signs there is only written when you can and can not park, but there is written if it is paid! It is easy to distinguish whether the parking is free or payable because, for each individual parking fee, there is a parking meter! And now let’s see how these machines work!

Come funziona il Parchimetro negli USA?

On the back of each parking meter is reported the time in which it is operating and the parking rate. If you intend to pay for the parking in cash, the procedure is easy: insert the coins until you arrive at the time when you will resume the car. The display will show the remaining time paid at the top and the time at which the parking will expire at the bottom.

As you know, however, in the US the cash does not run much and the credit card is mainly used. Obviously you can also pay for parking with the card, let’s see how:

  1. Insert the card and authorize the payment
  2. With the “+ Time” button you increase the parking time and with the “- Time” button you decrease it
  3. At the time you need, press “OK” and you’re done

If by chance you have done something wrong, don’t worry: just press “Cancel” to cancel the operation.

Did the guide serve you and did you manage to park thanks to us ?! Leave a comment and share the post with your friends!

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