Digital parking permits are set to replace the in-car physical stickers across the whole of Reading, making it more convenient and easier for residents to apply for and manage parking around their homes.
The council is proposing to modernise the way residents register and apply for parking permits for cars linked to their home or business. As a result, permits in the windows of cars may be phased out over the next year.
It follows a trial which took place in Lower Caversham from November 2022 until April this year.
The proposals for a boroughwide scheme will be discussed at a meeting of the Council’s Traffic Management Sub Committee on Wednesday September 13th.
If agreed at the committee meeting, the new digital parking permits will be in use as early as November. A phased transition from physical to digital permits would take place across Reading over a 12-month period.
Under the plans, residents will still be able to use their current physical permits, displayed in a vehicle’s window, until the expiry date. When approaching the expiry date, residents will be notified and will need to apply and pay for a digital permit online.
Importantly, motorists who do not have online access will still be able to use the paper permit system alongside the new digital system.
Scratchcard paper visitor permits will continue to be in use for a further 12 months. There will also be a trial to make visitor parking digital, which will be on an hourly basis instead of in fixed blocks. This could give residents the advantage of purchasing visitor permits instantly online for exactly how long they are required.
If successful, digital visitor permits could be introduced in late 2024. The visitor permit trial will also take place in Lower Caversham, where a trial of the resident digital permits took place.
John Ennis, Lead Councillor for Climate Strategy and Transport, said: “We are looking to modernise the way we provide our parking permits, transferring it online and reducing the wait for permits to be processed and dispatched, creating an easier, quicker and simpler system for residents.
“We have taken onboard the feedback from the trial in Lower Caversham which, on the whole, went smoothly.
“Importantly, those who do not have access to the internet, will still be able to use the previous system and will still have to display a permit in their vehicle. Physical visitor permits will remain in operation pending the results of a separate trial.”
As well as simplifying and speeding up the process for residents, other benefits of the proposed new digital permits include reducing errors around permits being incorrectly displayed and cars parking in different zones.
Parking permits are used to give residents a greater opportunity to park in the vicinity of their home in areas where there are more properties than parking spaces. The borough currently has12,000 road parking spaces for 17,000 homes.
Permits prevent people from inappropriately parking for long periods near train stations, hospitals and health centres, shopping centres, or parking so they can go to work. The permits are also designed to contribute to road safety and allow emergency service access.
Residents will also be able to report vehicles they believe are not parked in the correct permitted areas. This will be used as intelligence and highlight issues which can be reported here – Parking – Reading Borough Council.
f agreed at committee, the Council will inform parking permit holders about how to apply for the new digital permit, in the month before their permit expires. There will also be information on the changes, including frequently asked questions, added to the council’s website.