It never made sense to me that meters should always charge the same price at all hours. The CBD (central business district, for non-nerds) streets are between $4 and $6 an hour on weekdays … and on weekends, when no one is there and there is no compelling reason for anyone to drive downtown to pay those prices. So they sit empty, when the city could likely make more money by lowering the price, which would attract people who would be willing to pay the lower price and hike over to Robson or Granville.
Conversely, other areas charge incredibly low rates (many around Gastown, for example) when the streets there are often packed as people flood down for the restaurants and bars on weekend nights.
The city, as was previously reported, said it was moving to programmable meters. And now, it appears, they’re arriving.