CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Amid operational changes and a drop in parking fees, both parking garages in downtown Charlottesville are seeing increased usage.

And with this increase in usage comes more cash for the city.

In the past two years, both garages have changed ownership from Charlottesville Parking Center to Lanier Parking.

After this change-over and new policies, each garage saw revenue increases.

“We love to come downtown and shop and use the Children's Museum, so we use it for a variety of reasons,” Emily Hunsaker, a parking garage user, said.

Some of those reasons, on top of policy changes, are believed to be spearheading revenue increases at both of the downtown parking garages.

“So I think from the public's perspective what you're seeing is that although we reduced the rate by making the first hour free, the actual revenue to the city is expected to be higher than it was during the operations by Charlottesville Parking Center,” Rick Siebert, Charlottesville’s parking manager, said.

For fiscal year 2019, revenue at the Water Street garage increased by $33,000 to $550,000, and revenue increased by $57,000 to over $520,000 for the Market Street garage.

With the increase in traffic and revenue, parking continues to be a concern.

“The city is aware that parking downtown can sometimes be tight, particularly during the day at lunchtime,” Siebert said. “However, there's a lot of parking available in the evenings.”

Since November, it has become common for the Market Street garage to reach capacity at least two to three times per week.

“I definitely have to park a few blocks away and takes up - I definitely have to plan ahead for that,” Meredith Coe, who uses the parking garages, said.

“So then we go to the Water Street garage and see or drive around and see what's available on the street, but it definitely takes us a lot longer to get where we're going and not as convenient with the kids,” Hunsaker said.

Parking revenue is expected to increase again for fiscal year 2020.

The Water Street garage is projected to bring in $900,000 and the Market Street garage is expected to bring in just over $520,000.

Siebert says that hopefully in the coming years another parking garage can be built downtown to alleviate some of the parking stress.