parking meter

Metered parking in Charleston is now $2 per hour and enforced until 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday. The city will write warning tickets this week for violators. Cleve O'Quinn/staff

If you find a parking ticket on your car after 6 p.m. at a Charleston meter, don't freak out. It's only a warning.

But after this week's grace period, those $14-a-pop citations will start appearing on windshields at night. The new meter hours have been extended to 10 p.m.   

“We want to provide citizens an opportunity to understand and adjust to these changes before we begin enforcing them,” city spokesman Jack O’Toole said.

Also changed is the meter rate. It has doubled to $2 per hour — the same as a city garage.

City Council raised the fee as part of a strategy to balance its operating budget without raising property taxes. 

To help offset the potential burden the increased parking rates will put on downtown hospitality workers, the city on Sunday opened a new park-and-ride bus service.

The Hospitality on Peninsula lot is at 999 Morrison Drive. It's run by the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority. The dedicated shuttle will run from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m.

The cost to park at the 175-vehicle lot is $5 a day.

Reach Cleve O'Quinn at 843-937-5566. Follow him on Twitter @CleveOQuinn.