Ticket holders attending Thursday’s Kevin Hart event at the Santander Arena may have been surprised to find entrance and exit gates have been removed from several downtown parking garages.
The Reading Parking Authority has launched a new gateless entrance/exit system at the Convention Center, South Penn, and Reed & Court garages, which are located closest to the arena. The garages were outfitted with the gateless technology in late September after successful beta testing last spring at the Authority’s 4th & Cherry location.
Entry and exit times are expected to decrease as a result of the new system, which removes the steps in the parking process that typically delay patrons—pulling a ticket, making a payment, and waiting for the gates to open and close.
Now cameras outfitted with license plate readers will snap a picture of every vehicle’s license plate as it enters and exits the garage then compares how much time the driver paid for and how long they actually parked.
While the system employs technology similar to that used by many state turnpike systems, drivers should be aware they are required to purchase parking within 15 minutes of entering the garage.
Payment can be made via mobile app, text, online, or at a walkup pay station. Drivers who do not make a payment will receive a violation in the mail at the address of the registered owner of the vehicle.
The system is being implemented in response to customer complaints about the delay in exiting garages throughout the 2021-2022 event season.
The lengthy process of exiting garages began when the Reading Parking Authority adopted a cashless payment system for events in 2019.
Instead of paying cash to an Authority employee as they entered the garage, patrons paid via credit or debit card at the time of exit. That change diminished long lines to enter the garage that sometimes delayed ticket holders reaching the venue and caused potentially dangerous traffic backups on local roads. In the process, however, it caused much longer wait times as patrons exited garages after events.
To make the new process even faster, visitors are encouraged to set up a digital account with the ParkMobile or Text2Park payment platforms in advance of their visit.
More information about the new parking process and how to pay for parking are available at readingparking.com.