PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Since the city raised parking meter rates and increased enforcement, it seems that some drivers have been scared off.

Dozens of parking spaces were unoccupied late Tuesday afternoon in downtown Pittsburgh now that rates have increased to $3 an hour.

“Part of it probably is from rate increases, but we don’t know the amount associated with that yet,” David Onorato, head of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, said.

The increases started just two weeks ago and meter upgrades are still continuing.

“We probably got three more days out there to completely change the system over,” Onorato said.

Onorato isn’t surprised about the drop in the number of people using metered parking spaces.

“When there is a rate increase … we’ll feel the negative effect of it for a while, but in the past we’ve always seen the customers come back,” he explained.

This latest rate increase came with extended ticketing hours. However, Onorato says they have not seen a drop-off in tickets.

He points out it’s only logical that metered parking downtown at night is down.

“They can pull into any of our garages or to private garages [and] pay anywhere from $5 to $7 for the entire evening instead of $3 an hour,” Onorato said.

The parking authority anticipated about a 10 percent reduction in usage as the rates went up.

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