Digital parking permit common questions

Permit fees are changing from 1 May 2023. Please see our permit charges page for further information.

What does this mean for me as a resident in Lower Caversham?

You will be able to apply for a digital resident permit and visitor permits. The permits will not be delivered to your address, as they are virtual. There is no change to the way you apply.

If you already hold a valid paper resident permit, you will no longer need to display this in your vehicle.

If you have valid resident visitor scratch cards please see the question below.

Why was Lower Caversham selected for the pilot?

We selected this zone because it is well defined and reasonably sized; with nearly 600 current resident permit holders will offer the Council a good sized sample for the trial feedback.

What does this mean for Reading residents in other areas?

Nothing at present. If you live outside of the Lower Caversham zone (02R) this does not affect you. If the pilot is successful, then this may be rolled out to other areas. We will keep everyone informed and consulted ahead of any changes.

What permits are going to be digital?

At this stage we are only trialling resident parking permits and resident visitor permits. Other permits such as discretionary resident permits are not included in the trial.

What about the other permits Reading Borough Council offer?

Following this trial, we will review all permit types on offer. This pilot trials resident and visitor permits in the lower Caversham area only.

Do I need an email address?

Yes, to take advantage of the digital permits, you must apply online.

How do I apply online?

You apply online here as you normally would outside of the trial.

What if I or someone I know can’t apply online?

If you cannot apply online, you can still use the paper-based version of the system by applying how you normally would outside of the trial. Visit the apply for or renew a parking permit page.

Can I apply for a permit at weekends?

You can apply for a resident permit any day of the week. However, we must check the evidence you provide as part of your application. Resident permits will only be approved during business hours. Visitor permits can be purchased and activated at any time if you have a valid resident account.

Will the permit charges change?

During the pilot the cost of visitor parking permits and resident parking permits will not change. Your first permit costs £44 and the second is £165. The new Digital Visitor Permits are £25 per block of 120 hours which will be available to use on an hourly basis. You may still apply for the free entitlement per household of 2 x 120 hours.

Please note – prices shown are based on Reading Borough Council fees and charges for 2022 – 2023.

How do the visitor permits work? I only want to use 2 hours, but I currently use one half day permit.

The visitor permits will be worked out in hours. You can block out times of visits in hourly sessions. The hours you use will then be removed from your total.  Each parking session is a minimum of 1 hour.

Please see our how to guides for details on how to use. These will be available once testing is completed.

How will I know when my resident permit is due to expire?

We will send you a reminder 4 weeks before your permit expires by email. If you do not receive a reminder, please check your junk e-mail folder. If you do not renew your permit, you will be sent an email that your permit has expired and parking your vehicle would be subject to receiving a penalty charge notice. You can always check your permit status by logging into your account at any time.

Do I have to provide proof on renewals?

We aim to introduce this with minimal impact. At this time, you will not have to provide proof of address or vehicle to enable renewals, as per the existing scheme.

How will I know if a vehicle outside my home has a permit?

There will not be a process to check if a vehicle does or does not have a permit due to data protection rules.

No cars will be required to display a paper permits. If you believe  a vehicle is not a resident or a visitor to another house in the zone then you are able to report an illegally parked vehicle.

How can I report an illegally parked vehicle?
When will I need to use a visitor permit?

You will need to book your visitor into the system at all times.

Under the current scratch card system, the AM scratch card is valid from 8am to 2pm. The PM scratch card is valid from 2pm till 10am.

Using the virtual visitor permit system, all vehicles must be booked in. However, hours used for vehicles parked between 8pm and 8am will not be deducted from your balance. The parking sessions for visitors in the evening will be booked through the same method as a day time visitor voucher, but will be called a night time visitor voucher. Note you are only able to get a night time voucher block if you have a valid daytime voucher set available.

What will happen if I use daytime vouchers at night?

If you use your daytime vouchers at night it will remove hours from your balance. You must use night time visitor vouchers when parking your visitors during night time.

We will be unable to credit any hours if you selected the wrong voucher.

If the session has not started you are able to go in and cancel the booked session. If the session had already started you will lose those hours.

How did you calculate the visitor permit allowance?

1 visitor book is equal to 20 half-days. 1 half day is equal to 6 hours; therefore, one book equals 120 hours.

You are entitled to 2 free books which is equivalent to 240 hours.

For the additional paid visitor permits you are able to purchase up to 5 books which will total 600 hours.

The night time voucher sessions are free, but you must have a valid day time block available to use. Only daytime visitor voucher holders can have night time visitor vouchers.

Why do you want my visitor data?

We only require a registration, and how long that vehicle is parked for. There is an option for you to name your visitor, if they are frequent, but that decision is for you. The information the CEO has access to is no different to him walking down the street and collecting the vehicle registration and how long it would be staying.

Is there a minimum amount of visitor hours you can buy?

240 free visitor hours are available to all eligible households.

The minimum number of hours you can buy at one time is 120, which is the equivalent of one book, this costs £25. Please note – prices shown are based on Reading Borough Council fees and charges for 2022 – 2023.

I have scratch cards left, can I make them digital?

If you have full books of scratch cards, we will, upon receipt of the full books, add your 120 hours to your account for each book returned.

Please return books to Parking Permits, RBC, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading, RG1 2LU for processing. For the time being, only residents in the pilot zone can exchange full books for digital visitor permits.

Please ensure to include your name and address details with your scratch books when you return them.

If you have books that are already started, please use these up as they remain valid until the last date available to you on your permits, that is 31 December of the last year available to you to use.

Can I amend the booking if they leave early?

At this time, bookings are not able to be changed, if a visitor leaves early. You can always extend, but once the parking session is confirmed it cannot be amended.

What about my overnight visitors? They currently can park after 2pm with a half day permit that takes them to 10am the next day? Will this now remove 18 hours from my total allowance?

As the new digital system is more flexible and allows booking by the hour there is a change to how overnight visitors are booked in. All hours must be booked using both day time and night time voucher to ensure they do not receive a Penalty Charge Notice.

I don’t have 24-hour resident parking, are you changing the restriction?

No, we are not changing any restrictions that are in place or adding new restrictions to roads that do not have a resident permit scheme. The only change is that the permits will become digital.

If you do not have permit parking in the evening, then you do not need to book a visitor into the system.

Please follow the signage in your street for the restrictions in place. You will need to use a permit for when the times of your permit scheme is valid.

How many hours will one day take from my account?

Visitor Permits will be allocated in hours rather than days; therefore, you will only use the same number of hours as the visitor is parked.   All hours booked between 8am and 8pm will be deducted from your balance. Hours booked between 8pm and 8am are non-deductible, however you MUST still register any visitors parked to ensure they do not receive a Penalty Charge Notice.

Can I book in my visitor in advance?

You can log into your account at any time to book visitor parking sessions immediately or in advance. The details of sessions which are booked to ‘start now’ are instantly visible on Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO) handheld devices, preventing Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) from being issued to the vehicle. To speed up the booking process, you can save registration numbers of regular visitors to use again at a later date.

How do I know if a parking session is completed?

The final step in the booking process confirms the details of the booking back to you including; date, time and expiry of the session.

The history tab in your account will display all your booked parking sessions over the previous 12 months.

An email will be sent once confirmation is made on all bookings.

What if my visitor gets a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)?

Your visitor will need to challenge in line with the usual statutory process for challenging a PCN. They can do this online. You can provide them with a screenshot of the valid session for the date and time and registration of the vehicle as part of their evidence.

Each case is dealt with on its own merits and only by using the process outlined above.

Last updated on 10/02/2023