CHICAGO (CBS) — Drivers in Chicago are feeling some serious sticker shock, and it has nothing to do with the price of their car.

It’s the cost to park, CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports.

The company that manages parking pay boxes across Chicago wasted no time this week changing the rates — at least in the most expensive parts of the city. Despite the publicity and controversy about the deal, the hike is still a stunning blow to lots of people.

The New Year brought new headaches for Melvin Thomas and his friend, Anthony Hall. Hall said the new $5-an-hour rate – up from $4.25 an hour – is too much.

The hike officially went into effect Sunday.  But many drivers, like Lorna Montgomery, say they had no idea it was about to get more expensive to park.

The rate hike is only enforced on boxes displaying the new hourly parking fee. Those stickers have been changed in the priciest parts of the city, such as the Loop and Central Business District.

Head out to the neighborhoods, and the old rate is still in effect — for now.

Sharon Elliott owns a Lincoln Park consignment shop. She says the stretch of Lincoln Avenue in front of her shop used to be packed. But ever since the parking boxes were put in, it’s been practically empty, killing small businesses, Elliott says.

All of this is part of the parking agreement signed two years ago. To be fair, the company has changed some things to make it less of a hassle for drivers to park and stay parked.

Still, there seems to be a lot of sticker shock.

Rates outside the Loop — but still in the downtown area — go from $2.50 to $3. The affected area for these rates is bounded roughly by Division Street, Cermak Road, Halsted Street and Lake Michigan.

Meanwhile, neighborhood parking goes from $1.25 to $1.50 an hour.

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