Greenville’s parking garages going coinless, but new rates will cost most parkers more

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Will Crooks/Greenville Journal

Greenville’s parking garages are going coinless and, for most hourly parkers, that means they’ll end up paying more.

The first hour will remain free, but the second hour will cost $2, up 50 cents. Each hour after that will cost $1, up to a daily maximum charge of $7. Currently, the maximum daily charge is $7.50.

Greenville Public Works Director Mike Murphy told city council members that 40 percent of parking garage equipment breakdowns are coin-related.

A date for the new rates hasn’t been set yet, but the city wants to do it before the Residence Inn and Springhill Suites hotels open in mid-January, Murphy said.

In addition, the city expects to install a high-tech parking-control system in its Spring Street garage in January. The Spring Street garage is a pilot and, if successful, the city will install the new equipment in all 11 of its garages at a cost of $3 million.

The equipment will allow drivers to reserve and pay for a space in advance, and will use license plate recognition equipment and a Bluetooth connection to allow drivers who have registered their tags to enter and exit the garage without a card.

The city’s parking services general manager Bill Foster has said the equipment would allow the city to sell more monthly parking spaces in high-demand garages. The city currently oversells monthly spots in those garages, but Foster has said the city could sell even more spots if it had better data on when monthly parkers actually used the garages and how often.

Most daily parkers stay two hours or less.

According to city figures, the new rate structure will generate an additional $221,389 a year.

“We need to position it as we’re going coinless, not because we’re raising parking rates even though the reality is we’re raising parking rates,” Councilman Russell Stall said.

The new rates do not have to be approved by city council.

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