Parking Meter Information

parking meter image by Patrick Moyer from

While sometimes an inconvenience, parking meters are a way for local governments to generate revenue in a business district. Parking meters also free up spaces that would otherwise be filled with long-term parkers. Today, local planners are responsible for weighing the benefits of free versus paid parking.


The first parking meter was installed on July 16, 1935 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Originally named the Park-O-Meter by its inventor, Carl C. Magee. Magee had been appointed to the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce traffic committee and given the task of solving the problem of people who worked in the downtown area taking all of the parking spots and leaving few for customers. Retailers loved the parking meters because of the quick turnaround of cars and potential customers.


Dual Parking Meter Co. began installing parking meters later that month, and cost a nickel an hour. According to the History Channel, by the early 1940s, there were more than 140,000 parking meters in the United States.

Types of Meters

In automatic meters, patrons insert the coins, and the inner clockwork starts the timing mechanism. Manual meters require the patron to wind the meter after the coin is inserted, and these typically have shorter springs that run down faster.

Charging for Parking

In an area where parking fees are important to generate money for the local economy, city planners may decide to charge for parking, but also have to include the cost of maintenance and maintenance personnel and those who issue citations.

Advancements in Technology

Manufacturers improved customers' costs with the introduction of the double-headed meter, which has one coin bank for two spaces, reducing the number of machines needed by half. Developments are under way for parking meters that will take pictures of vehicles offenders to cut costs on personnel.

How Much Money Can A Parking Meter Hold?

Although different between manufacturers, most parking meters can hold $30 to $60. According to the Parking Meter Page, estimating that there are more than 5 million parking meters in the United States alone and if only 25 cents were deposited in each daily, the revenue would average $1.25 million per day.

Can Parking Tickets Be Disputed?

Meter times are recorded and can be verified. If you feel that you are short timed by a meter, try to contest the ticket the same day, if possible. You'll need the meter number, and it's location. If a proven parking meter malfunction, the ticket can be dismissed.


About the Author

Rosalie King began writing professionally in 2009. She is the author of "The Skin Underneath," a free ebook download, and is currently at work on "White Collar Ghetto." She studied clarinet in college, and has a Bachelor of Arts in music from the University of Tampa.

Photo Credits

  • parking meter image by Patrick Moyer from