FAQ

Do pay boxes protect against identity theft?

Credit card transactions at the pay boxes are secure because pay boxes are PCI compliant. PCI is the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standard for protecting data. It is a set of requirements designed to ensure that companies that process, store, or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.

When using a credit card at the pay box, credit card information is transmitted directly to the financial institution. CPM does not retain or store the data except for the last four digits of your credit card which is very similar to any other credit card transaction. Retaining the last four digits of the credit card enables CPM to provide better customer service in case there is a problem with the pay box and a refund is necessary.

What improvements have been made by Chicago Parking Meters to the parking meter system?

Chicago Parking Meters has replaced almost all of the single space meters with Pay Boxes.  Motorists can pay using credit or debit cards, including Visa, Master Card, American Express and Discover, at pay boxes. Quarters are still accepted too.  For general rates and times, please visit the Cost & Hours page. For specific rates, times and restrictions please refer to signage near or around the parking area. Also, review information located on the parking meter or Pay Box.

In addition, CPM has made the following enhancements for motorists:

  • Portable time: Receipts purchased at Pay Boxes are good until expiration at any meter with the same or lower hourly rate, and they now are clearly printed with the rate so motorists can easily determine where they can use their receipt. Given that the vast majority of meters are located in neighborhoods at the same rate, this means people can take payment with them as they visit many different locations.
  • Extended periods of stay, or meter duration: CPM has changed Pay Boxes to provide extended time near theaters, concert halls, schools, hospitals, and other places where parkers require more than a two-hour stay. Businesses that would like to request changes to the period of stay or hours of operation may do so here.
  • Automatic parking ticket dismissal: Information on meter malfunctions is captured in a database and shared with the City of Chicago which, as of March 4th, has automatically dismissed 150 tickets for inoperable meters since late summer. Discounted monthly parking in lots: In cooperation with the City, CPM is piloting a program at 11 commuter lots, offering motorists the option of monthly passes at considerable savings. For monthly parking rates, please click here.
  • Pre-payment: Pay Boxes are programmed to offer pre-payment whenever possible. Motorists parking at 24-hour meters can generally pre-pay until 10:00 a.m. unless rush hour restrictions are in place. At most other meters, motorists can pre-pay as early as 5:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. or later.
  • More spots per meter: A single Pay Box can replace many single space meters, creating more parking spots and sidewalk space per block. Pay Boxes also promote parking turnover, resulting in more availability in front of your favorite destinations.
  • Donated bicycle meters: CPM donated thousands of single space meter poles and housings to the City of Chicago, retrofitting them so that bicycle parking is protected.  Repurposed parking meters are located throughout the City.
  • 24/7 Customer service: Motorists can call 877.242.7901 to report a broken meter and repairs are made in less than one business day; usually in just a few hours.

What are Pay Boxes and why are you replacing the old-style meters
with them?

A Pay Box is an electronic meter that allows motorists to pay for parking at a central location and display a receipt on the vehicle's dashboard, preferably the curbside for safety.  Motorcycle and scooter owners can display the receipt by adhering it to the headlamp using the provided adhesive after writing their license plate number on the receipt.

Motorists may park in any legally available curb space between the posted “Pay at Pay Box” signs except in “No Parking” zones like near fire hydrants, at crosswalks, in bus stops, during street cleaning, during rush hour and other restricted parking areas and times. Those areas are still enforced, so it is important to pay attention to street signage.

Also, Pay Boxes accept credit and debit cards, including Visa, Master Card, American Express and Discover cards. Quarters are still accepted too.

Is this happening everywhere there are meters?

Yes. Parking spots across Chicago, from the North Side to the South Side to the Loop and everywhere in between have Pay Boxes. More than 34,000 spaces are served by Pay Boxes. There are approximately 2000 single space meters remaining on the street.

I got a parking ticket. What do I do now?

If it is a valid violation, please pay it by following the directions on the ticket or envelope.  If you believe it was issued in error, you may contest the ticket. Instructions for challenging a ticket can be found on the ticket, or click here to visit the Chicago Department of Revenue web site for more information.

What do I do if the meter is broken? Do I still have to pay?

1. Please call 1.877.242.7901 and report it as inoperable or malfunctioning within 24 hours of parking your vehicle in the meter zone or space.

2. You don't have to pay if you park at a broken meter, as long as you didn’t cause the meter to break. However, if you park at a broken meter, you may only park for the maximum period of stay, or duration, allowed by that meter. For example, if the time limit for the meter is two hours, you cannot stay in the space for more than two hours; exceeding the time limit, even if the meter is broken, may result in a parking ticket.

3. Please remember that by reporting a broken or malfunctioning meter, you are helping us keep the system operational, helping your fellow motorists and protecting yourself should you inadvertently receive a parking ticket.

 

What if it charges my credit card twice or I need a refund for some
reason?

In case you find your credit card was charged the wrong amount or feel you are entitled to a refund for any reason please follow the instructions here, or call the Helpdesk (877.242.7901).

Do the new meters accept dollar bills?

No, the new meters only accept credit and debit cards, as well as quarters and dollar coins.  The unpredictable and harsh Chicago weather does not work favorably with dollar bill acceptors. Our hope is to supply more options for payment in the coming months.

Do drivers with disabilities get special parking privileges at Pay
Boxes and meters?


Yes. A new Illinois law aimed at cracking down on abled-bodied motorists who abuse disabled parking permits will take effect on Jan 1.
Passed unanimously by the Illinois General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn in 2012, the legislation provides free parking to motorists who are physically unable to access a meter or pay box because they use a wheelchair or have a severe disability. Eligible motorists will now display a yellow-and-gray colored placard to park for free at metered spaces in Chicago and throughout the state.

What steps should I take to have a Pay Box relocated?

 

All Pay Box relocation request need be submitted to the alderman representing the specific ward where the Pay Box is located. For a complete list of alderman along with contact information, visit here.