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Where are the cheapest parking meters in Vancouver?

The area adjacent to Burrard SkyTrain station charges $11 per hour, but there are many $1 per hour spots across the city.
Parking meter rates in the City of Vancouver can range from $11 per hour to $1 per hour.

Where are the cheapest parking meter rates in Vancouver?

That, of course, depends where you want to park, time of day and whether it’s a weekday or weekend.

Also, prices are set based on demand and metres operate from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, including statutory holidays.

Pockets of downtown are expensive — $11 per hour adjacent to the Burrard SkyTrain station — but there are more than 3,100 spots in the city that charge $1 per hour, Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Many of those $1 per hour spots are north of 16th Avenue and include Kitsilano, Mount Pleasant, Strathcona and parts of the West End, including Davie Street.

A Glacier Media reporter who recently parked in the 100-block of Alexander Street in Gastown on a Monday morning paid a total cost of $6.95 to park for four hours at a meter.

That same reporter paid a total of $2.32 to park on East Cordova Street, near Main Street, between 7:30 p.m. and 10 a.m. on a Saturday night.

$2 flat rate Chinatown

Meters in Chinatown are currently charging a $2 per hour flat rate, which council approved in April 2023 as part of a trial, which ends in December 2024.

Prior to the flat rate, meter fees in Chinatown ranged from $1 to $5 per hour from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and from $1 to $3 per hour from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The boundaries of Chinatown are roughly Gore Avenue, Union Street, Keefer Street and East Pender Street.

City staff made the $2 per hour recommendation in a report to council that was based on a survey of businesses in Chinatown.

“There was a perception that parking meter fees were $5 per hour throughout Chinatown, but parking meter fees on more than half of the blocks are actually $2 per hour or less,” the staff report said at the time.

“Although some businesses wanted free parking during certain times of day, others recognized that free parking would result in a lack of turnover and less parking availability for customers.”

At $2 per hour across Chinatown, the report said the fee would reduce the cost of parking on the most expensive blocks — 100 and 200-blocks of East Pender Street, for example — and would provide clear and consistent pricing to customers, regardless of where or when they park.

The report said street parking in Chinatown is generally busiest from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays tend to be busier while Mondays and Tuesdays tend to be quieter.

Motorcycles, scooters

If you’re on a motorcycle or electric scooter in Chinatown or anywhere else in the city, parking is going to be cheaper — 50 cents per hour in some cases, or free.

There are more than 200 parking spaces specifically for motorcycles and scooters, including more than 100 metered spaces. These designated spaces are marked with green-topped meters, motorcycle parking signs and are painted in white.

The parking rate for motorcycle meter spaces on a block is 50 per cent less than regular parking meter space on the same block and free for electric scooters, both registered and unregistered.

When you use PayByPhone to park your gas-powered motorcycle and scooter in a regular parking meter space normally used for vehicles, you get a 50 per cent discount on parking rates and a 75 per cent discount for electric scooters with licence plates.

Electric scooters without licence plates can't park in regular parking meter spaces.

According to the city’s 2024 draft budget report, revenue from on-street parking generated more than $54 million in 2023 and was expected to increase to $61.7 million by year’s end, mainly due to meter expansion.

To get more information about parking meter rates, and locate the metres on a map, go to the city’s Open Data catalogue or VanMap websites.