Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine
By edhat staff
The Santa Barbara City Council voted Tuesday to approve $700,000 for automated license plate readers that will eventually replace downtown parking kiosk workers.
Pre-pandemic there were approximately 100 employees, also called "kiosketeers," who routinely greeted visitors at downtown Santa Barbara parking lots and handled parking fees, it's now down to 45. Since COVID-19 most downtown lots have been opened without employees as the city loses about $50,000 per week.
Roughly twenty hourly employees are expected to remain to handle the transition to automated parking. Overall the transition is estimated to save the city $1.1 million per year.
Other options proposed during the meeting would be to eliminate the 75-minute free parking period in all lots or increasing the hourly rate to $2, but this was ultimately shot down as businesses owners are already struggling with the pandemic.
The council voted 6-1 to approve the new program which will take approximately one year to fully transition.