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Last updated: 9/11/18

How do parking meters work?

You'll find meters throughout Boston. Here's what you need to know.

Most meters are active Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Please make sure to check the hours of operation when you park.

You can only park for two hours, but some meters allow for more time. Please check the meter when you park.

Still have questions? Contact:
Parking Clerk
1 City Hall Square
Room 224
Boston, MA 02201-2007
United States

Sundays and City holidays

On Sundays and City holidays you can park for free. But, all other parking regulations are still enforced.

If you are confused about a date, please contact BOS:311. Their team will be able to tell you whether you can park for free.

For example:

Christmas Day was on a Sunday in 2016. City offices were closed on Monday, December 26, to observe the Christmas holiday. Parking meters were free on both days. We also didn't enforce parking meter time limits on either day.

Paying for parking at a metered spot

Double check posted signs

Check the signs around the meter to make sure you can use the spot. To avoid getting a ticket, you must return to your car before the time expires on the meter.

Paying for metered spots

You will find options to pay meters with quarters, credit cards, and the ParkBoston appIf a ParkBoston decal is on the meter where you parked, you can use the app. 

Pay and Display

For Pay and Display meters, you must take the receipt from the meter and place it on the inside of your car's curbside window. 

Parking meter costs

Performance Parking pilot

The new initiative aims to set more parking spots aside for those trying to get to our busiest neighborhoods. During the pilot, Back Bay meters are $3.75 an hour. Meters in the Seaport District in South Boston are currently $1.50 an hour, but will vary after April 3, 2017.

Learn about Performance Parking

All other parking meters in the City of Boston are $1.25 an hour. But, please remember to check the meter for the exact price.

Types of meters in Boston

IPS Single Space Meters

These meters are located throughout the City’s most popular shopping, business, and entertainment areas. This includes Faneuil Hall, the Financial District, Back Bay, and the South End.

All single space meters accept quarters, and debit or credit cards from Discover, MasterCard, or Visa.

Parkeon Pay and Display Meters

These battery-operated meters are recharged by solar power and have instructions in both English and Spanish. Pay and Display meters accept quarters and credit or debit cards from Discover, MasterCard, or Visa.

Please put the receipt on the inside of your car’s curbside window to show you’ve paid for the spot.

Meters with colored domes
  • Parking meters with red-capped domes mean the meters are not in effect at certain times due to parking restrictions. These are often dropoff zones during the day. 
  • Parking meters with yellow-capped domes mean the metered spaces are also used as loading zones at times during the day.

If you want to park at a meter with a colored dome, please make sure to check the posted signs on the street. The signs will explain any parking restrictions.