Jun 13, 2011

Panamanian Parking Meters

After traveling back and forth for 5 years, and actually living here for another 15 months, I just learned there are meter maids in David. But the fun part is that David doesn't have parking meters.  Lack of resources never stops anyone from thinking like the big guys in Panama. 

To the left is a scan of  David, Panama's version of a parking meter.  It's a public parking card.  Public parking is considered anything that isn't private; ie street curbs, designated store parking, etc.   Who would have known!  I was shopping with a Panamanian friend this weekend, and she enlightened me.  I had parked downtown and headed off without a second thought.

The way it works is thus:  People buy parking cards at designated kiosks in the downtown area.  Each card costs ten cents.  You buy as many cards as you think you will need.   Then, when you park in a public spot, you fill out one or more of the cards and leave it on the dash under the windshield. On the card, you fill in the date and time you parked the vehicle.  The first column is for month, second for date, third for hour and fourth for minutes.  Each card is worth 30 minutes of time.  As you can see by my card on the left,  I parked on 6/10/11 at 11:35 am, which gave me til 12:05 pm to remain without being cited.  If I planned to stay for an hour, I would have had to leave a second card in plain view for 12:05 pm, which would allow another half hour.   The honor system comes into play as far as the exact parking time is concerned.   Quite ingenious, don't you think?