Bye-bye scratch cards for parking fees.
From 15 January the scratch-cards used to pay for on-street parking in a blue-line slot in Milan will no longer be valid, but there are still several other convenient options for payment.
It is now possible to pay by sending an SMS, but only for clients of TIM, Wind Tre and Vodafone. To pay for one hour, send an SMS to the number 48444 containing the zone number (you can find this on the parking meters or on the signs identifying parking areas), followed by a full stop and the vehicle registration plate, with no spaces, for example 13.EW232XX. The charge will be subtracted from the credit on your mobile phone.
Motorists who have installed Telepass, the gadget for paying motorway tolls without having to stop at the toll booth, can activate the additional service Telepass Pay. This costs an extra €1.24 a month on top of the usual rental fee, but will be free for the first year if you activate it before 13 January. The parking fee is added to your monthly Telepass account.
If you haven’t installed Telepass yet but are interested in this service, it’s on offer until 13 January free for six months, after which the monthly rental will be €2.50 per month, including Telepass Pay.
There are also two smartphone apps which have the advantage of charging only for the actual time used, as long as it’s at least 30 minutes. These are also used in many other cities in Italy and abroad, and also offer spinoff options like bus tickets. First register on the website of either My Cicero or Easypark Italia; then download the app, register your vehicle’s (or vehicles’) licence plate(s) and the bank account, PayPal or other payment option you prefer. It is essential to print off the label provided on registration and display it on the windshield to inform meter maids which service you are using.
Scratch-cards you have already bought can still be used up to 31 March. And of course there is always the old-fashioned fallback of paying with coins. Parking will continue to involve costs varying by city zone between €1.20 per hour in the outer districts and €4.50 in the city centre. And the payment must now be linked to the vehicle’s registration number – so no more passing on the unexpired remainder to another driver as you leave.