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Exposing New Bedford’s Parking Meters!


Michael Silvia
by Michael Silvia

Several times a week, usually on a Saturday or on weekdays around 5 P.M., I stop visitors in downtown New Bedford from putting their quarters into the city’s parking meters.  For reasons unknown, the labels on the meters provide outdated information.  I’ve lived downtown for several years now, and during that time I’ve accumulated some information that can save a lot of money, which I will now share with you.  In this economy, every quarter counts!

Here is a look at a standard parking meter in downtown New Bedford:

New Bedford, MA parking meter
Typical New Bedford, MA parking meter.

It clearly states that the hours of operations are Monday through Saturday, 9 A.M. through 6 P.M.   This is incorrect!  The correct operating time is Monday through Friday from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. Furthermore, you can park for FREE on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.  The meter maids don’t work after 5 P.M. on the weekdays, and are off-duty on the weekends and on holidays.  I can only guess this is due to budget cuts.

Other Tips for Parking in Downtown New Bedford

  • If you frequently park downtown, get a pass at the Elm Street Parking Garage, located right next to the Standard Times building.  You can get unlimited parking for $30 a month.  The Garage is FREE on weekends, holidays and when there are major events downtown.
  • For long-term parking, use the Custom House Square (70 parking spaces) or Zeiterion (298 parking spaces) at 688 Purchase Street.  The Custom House Square parking area is FREE on the weekends, holidays and when there are major events downtown.

About Michael Silvia

Served 20 years in the United States Air Force. Owner of New Bedford Guide.

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  1. Hi Mike – thanks for posting this. We have been trying to tell employees, business owners, residents, vistiors, etc- that parking in the garages or CHS lot is a good deal and a short walk to anywhere downtown. Much better then feeding the meters and risking a ticket during the business day. We also particularly encourge business owners and employees to leave the on street metered parking for our clients and customers.

  2. they need 2 go – with downtown becoming what it is they r defeating the purpose – i volunteer at the visitors center and its appaling 2 c visitors having 2 worry bout feeding the meters while explorting the downtown area – they don’t know that they don’t have 2 feed them on saturdays cause on the actual meters it says only sundays are free – this is antiquated practice that serves no real purpose other than keeping people from coming downtown as i hear all the time – they got 2 go

  3. Thank you so much for the info I’ve lived in the area for 3 years and had no idea!… I wish some kind person with a label maker could offer to fix the main meters in downtown. B-)

  4. THANK YOU!!!!! Running a business downtown is wonderful… yet, the only problem I see is parking. You have just put out what I have been trying to get across the mayor’s desk for years. I think exposure is needed and even more so, City Hall should come to our aid and “CHANGE” all there meter signs. How can we do this? I have to run outside on a Saturday and let paying costumers know they do not have to pay the meter on the wkend* They are shocked** and some will still pay $$ afraid they will get a ticket! I took this same picture and sent it to City Hall. I am sure someone in the mayor’s office ripped that up :} Keep exposing this “fraud” and maybe someone will start emptying their pockets. I just might start putting foreign coins in after 5 & Sat. HaHa!! Just to remind the city that “WHAT THEY ARE DOING IS WRONG!” shame… Thank you again Mike. This is the “RIGHT THING TO DO” 🙂 Keep up the good work!

  5. According to the New Bedford Parking Commission, meters are monitored Monday thru Friday as posted on the meters. Police officers, at their discretion, can ticket meter violators on Saturday.

  6. In speaking with the Traffic Commission and Parking Clerk, they stated that the time is in fact 6:00pm on weekdays!! You may want to confirm and adjust this so your readers are not left with wrong information and so you are not faced with any liability issues!

    • Matt, I’ve parked downtown for 4 years now and have never put a quarter in the meter past 5 and never received a ticket.

      • They are indeed ticketing past 5 pm now in downtown. I’ve been downtown for 2 and a half years now and never received a ticket for not feeding the meter past 5pm until this last AHA! night when I was given a ticket at 5:30 on Purchase st. A friend also received a ticket after 5 last week on Pleasant st. I believe this is a recent change in their predatory ticketing tactics. This morning I called the parking office to ask what the hours were and was told that it has always been 9-6 Monday through Saturday. Obviously, that’s incorrect. The article above was right… they were clocking out at 5 for at least the 2 and a half years I’ve been here. However, they’ve obviously changed things up in the last month. It’s unfortunate because their inconsistent and overly aggressive methods are fundamentally counter to everyone’s efforts at bringing more activity into the city center… especially when giving tickets on an AHA! Night.

    • Been coming downtown for almost 10 years and have NEVER put a quarter in after 5 and have never placed one in on the weekend.

      I have NEVER gotten a ticket. That’s saying a LOT since the Meter MAIDS having given me tickets for being a minute late, for parking in meters that are out of order, and heck….given me tickets when I’ve had time left in the meter. They really could care less.

      So to not have gotten a ticket during their advertised times in 10 years says a lot.

      Having said that, I wouldn’t be the least but surprised that this word of mouth spreads and they start actually fining people for the first time.

  7. I live on a very busy and narrow 2 way street with no meters. Everyone on my street has to park slightly on the sidewalk to minimize damage to their cars from other passing cars. Almost every car on my street has been damaged at some point. Recently a maid came by on a SUNDAY and ticketed every car that was slightly on the sidewalk. City really has no clue on my why cars are parked like this?

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