Changes to the popular Prince George Parking Garage are coming again just months after new technology was installed.
City officials announced Friday the parking garage would now feature a new payment system that would allow drivers to only stop at the pay station once.
In February, the city entirely revamped the parking system, removing the gates and installing new payment systems. But the most recent change was initiated after an event in May caused long check-out lines for drivers following a festival.
“We fielded many justified complaints and it caused us to revisit our process,” said Mark Barham, director of information technology for the city, in a news release. “We determined it would be beneficial to go to a prepay process and remove the check-out process completely.”
Now, visitors at the parking garage can park their cars, visit the pay station and enter their license plate number as well as how long they plan to stay in the garage, then swipe their credit card.
Barham said prepayment processes are becoming normal on a national scale and used in other cities like Richmond.
If a visitor ends up staying more than they originally anticipated, the city will bill them for the balance. However, if a driver ends up leaving before their prepaid time is up, they will not be refunded any of the extra money.
The easiest way to take part in the system for frequent visitors is by establishing an online account through the city that will automatically charge a credit card without the guest ever having to visit the pay station. The system will know how long a car has been there and charge the person’s account accordingly.
“That is the ideal process – drive in and drive out without ever visiting the pay station,” Barham said.
That system is monitored through the license plate reading technology that was previously installed.
Since adding the technology earlier in the year, the city has also installed a large TV monitor inside the garage that directs visitors to various stores and restaurants downtown.
Those who do not check-in or have an online account will receive a warning citation on their car.
The Williamsburg Police Department oversees parking responsibilities for the city. Throughout the department, “parking ambassadors” will monitor the garage to enforce the parking system.
To learn more, visit the city of Williamsburg online.