Pay by plate parking meters are a type of parking lot access system that operate based on a vehicle’s license plate number. They are designed for implementation in urban or suburban areas or in for-profit parking lots.
How They Work
Pay by plate parking meters work by allowing users to input their license plate numbers into a machine, thus allowing for many vehicles to be serviced from a central location. Traditional meter systems, the coin-operated ones, only allow for one or possibly two vehicles to be serviced per meter. The license plate models allow for many vehicles. Because they are based on car license plate numbers, parking enforcement agents are able to quickly assess who has paid for parking by scanning license plate numbers from their vehicles. This creates a faster, more efficient system of enforcement.
Traditionally, a parking enforcement official would walk down a certain pre-designated set of streets checking who has paid to park and who hasn’t. This system is remarkably inefficient and time consuming. Using a pay by plate parking meter, a city or private business can greatly reduce the number of necessary meters. Each digital meter can monitor several cars at once. By reducing the necessary number of meters and streamlining the enforcement practice, a city can reduce the number of paid workers necessary to monitor on- and off-street parking. Due to the rapid increase in efficiency, certain cities have been able to double their parking revenue with these new systems. Also, they’ve been able to save money by hiring fewer meter attendants.
Moreover, since the allotted time is linked to a specific vehicle’s license plate, someone cannot piggyback on the time another person has purchased. Revenues are also increased this way.
Parkers much prefer the system because the burden on them is much lower. In other systems, parkers must display their receipts on their windshields to acknowledge they’ve purchased parking. In a license plate based system, parkers are not burdened with displaying anything since the allotted time is synced to their license plates. Also, consumers can pay at the centrally located pay station, or they can pay using their smart phones.
How to Switch
The benefits of the new system are obvious. Switching to a plate system might require some forethought though. To switch to the more efficient process, a business or city should consider how the customer service department responds to someone who has been wrongfully ticketed. Also, they must consider if the handheld enforcement devices can be linked to the machines in real time, and is the system prepared for the volume of parkers it might need to handle. Finally, they need to find out how long it takes before each transaction is uploaded and synced to the machine. These are all considerations that one should make before switching to the plate system.