Dag Chicago!!!!!

If you drive in Chicago, get ready to dig deeper into your pockets for the new privatized parking meters.

Parking meter rates will rise from $3.50 an-hour to $4.25 an-hour in the Loop and downtown area.

In the neighborhoods, parking meter rates will go from $1.25 an-hour to $2.50 an-hour.

It's an increase of 25 percent from the previous rates, but a 500 percent increase overall from the time when the City of Chicago was operating the meters.

"We can always do what we're entitled to do and that is vote with our wallets. Park somewhere else, ya know, don't shop in places where you pay exorbitant rates, vote with your wallet." one motorist told FOX Chicago News.

Mayor Richard Daley's administration leased the city's 36,000 parking meters to a Morgan Stanley-owned company, now called Chicago Parking Meters, or LAZ, for 75 years. The city got $1.15 Billion for the contract.

LAZ plans to start making the switch over this morning, using 10 two-man crews to program the changes into the kiosks. All of the meters should be updated by January 15th the company said.

Some motorists have been bedeviled by problems with the meters, starting with jammed parking meters that led to parking tickets.

The city halted ticket-writing by LAZ workers for awhile while they worked to fix the meters. And the new pay kiosks sometime freeze up in cold weather, leaving parker wondering what to do.

Come Monday, if you drive, be prepared to carry extra coins or pay by credit card.

LAZ officials say they now will allow parkers to pay at one kiosk and park in other areas as long as the parking rate is still the same.

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