How to Use the New Parking Meters

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The Passport Parking App is available for download! 

Pay, extend, and manage your parking session with just a few taps. It's easy! Just park where you see Passport Parking app signs & decals, pay for your parking session from your phone, and be on your way. Please note, a $0.15 fee is applied per session on the app. No fees are associated with the smart meters or kiosks. 

How do I pay for parking with Passport Parking? 

1. Download the Passport Parking app from the Apple App Store or Google Play store
2. Create an account with your mobile phone number or email address. 
3. Park anywhere you see Passport Parking app signs & decals. 
4. Pay for your parking session from your phone. 
5. Extend your time remotely if you'd like to stay longer! 

Parking Meter FAQ

  • When do the parking changes go into effect?

    When do the parking changes go into effect?

    June and July are the soft opening months to test the new equipment and troubleshoot any problems. Staff will not issue citations pertaining to the new equipment until August. Mobile App will be available in August.


  • Are there any areas downtown where I can park for free?

    Are there any areas downtown where I can park for free?

    Yes! There is one hour of free parking, per day, available in lots 4, 8, 10 and both the 6th Avenue and Getchell garages. Nights, weekends and federal holidays are always free. Enforcement hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here for parking map


  • Can I use the 1-free hour of parking in Lot 4 and then another free hour in the lots or garages that offer free parking?

    Can I use the 1-free hour of parking in Lot 4 and then another free hour in the lots or garages that offer free parking?

    No. Only 1-free hour is granted per license plate, per day.


  • What if I have to quickly run into a store to pick something up or drop something off?

    What if I have to quickly run into a store to pick something up or drop something off?

    Signs indicate where convenient 15 minute quick stop parking is available on each block. 


  • Do I still need to enter my information in the kiosk if I am in a lot that offers 1-free hour of parking, but I will only be parked for one hour or less?

    Do I still need to enter my information in the kiosk if I am in a lot that offers 1-free hour of parking, but I will only be parked for one hour or less?

    Yes. Entering your license plate information sends an indication to Parking Control Officers that you are using your 1-free hour and a ticket will not be issued.


  • How can I pay for parking when I go downtown?

    How can I pay for parking when I go downtown?

    Once installation is complete, all kiosks and smart meters will accept debit/credit cards, Helena Parking Goldie tokens, and U.S. $1 coins, quarters, dimes and nickels. The Mobile App will also be available in August for your parking convenience. Stay tuned!


  • Is it safe to use my credit/debit card with the new kiosks and meters?

    Is it safe to use my credit/debit card with the new kiosks and meters?

    Tier 1 security is utilized in all kiosks and smart meter transactions, ensuring your information is safe and confidential.


  • I work downtown- What are my options for parking during the week?

    I work downtown- What are my options for parking during the week?

    Staff sell a variety of downtown parking permits. Please contact the Parking Office and a representative will be happy to guide you in the right direction: 406-447-8419. 


  • Do I need to put anything on my dashboard/windshield indicating that I paid to park for the day?

    Do I need to put anything on my dashboard/windshield indicating that I paid to park for the day?

    Staff will use license plate recognition software to identify the vehicles that have paid so paper vouchers on the dashboard are not necessary.


  • If I pay to park in one area of downtown can I utilize leftover time in a different part of downtown?

    If I pay to park in one area of downtown can I utilize leftover time in a different part of downtown?

    Once you pay at an on-street kiosk you may park anywhere on the streets that house other on-street kiosks until your time expires. This does not include metered areas or downtown lots. Remaining time does not roll over and cannot be utilized on another day.


  • What is the difference between a smart meter and a kiosk?

    What is the difference between a smart meter and a kiosk?

    Smart meters manage single-space parking and a vehicle is relegated to that space once payment has been issued. Kiosks manage multiple-space parking and a vehicle is free to move about the streets if parking is paid at an on-street kiosk. If parking is paid in a lot, a vehicle must stay in that lot or purchased parking time is lost. 


  • Is parking in a lot the same price as on the street?

    Is parking in a lot the same price as on the street?

    No. Downtown parking lots are $1 per hour. The first 30 minutes is $.50 and every hour after is $1.00. Lots 4, 8, and 10 offer 1-free hour of parking per license plate per day.

    Please click the link to see the on-street parking fee structure: On-street fee structure


Parking Permits for Employees

If you park all day downtown more than two days a week, it is often more convenient and less expensive to buy a parking permit. Permits allow you to park all day in designated areas—lots, parking structures, or on-street. The City of Helena Parking does not reserve parking spaces, but we do try to manage parking so that spaces are always available.

Goldie Coins: Save 20 Percent Every Day

Get your parking tokens -- Goldie Coins -- at the City of Helena Parking office, 225 N. Cruse Avenue. They can save you money at parking meters and parking lot pay stations.

Purchase $8 in tokens to get $10 worth of parking.

Goldies are great for people who work part-time or odd hours.

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Lot Box/Meter Problems

If you are experiencing any issues with lot boxes or meters, please call us at 447-8419.

City of Helena Parking Boundaries