By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you’ve been hanging on to any old “smart cards” issued by the Philadelphia Parking Authority, it’s time to use them up:  PPA kiosks and meters will stop accepting them at the end of this month.

It has been a l-o-o-o-ng phaseout. The Philadelphia Parking Authority stopped selling the cards in May, and posted notices on every kiosk in the city about the final expiration date, December 31st.

Corrine O’Conner, the PPA’s director of on-street parking, says they didn’t want to spring it on anyone.

“We wanted to give the public the opportunity that if they did have a smart card that they may have forgotten they purchased, to actually use the smart card,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

Although O’Conner doesn’t think there are many out there at this point.

“Once the kiosks were installed, less purchases were being made of the smart cards, more people were going for the credit cards, so they basically phased themselves out,” she says.

O’Conner says, though, that the Parking Authority will give refunds if people end the year with a balance on a smart card.