How is parking money tracked at Qualcomm Stadium?

Dear Matt:

When I took my guests from Chicago to a Padres game, they were amazed at the "honor system" in the parking lot at Qualcomm Stadium. Just hand your money to someone who crams it into a wad of bills in his other hand and go right in. No gate, no receipt, no method of tallying how many cars pass through. At the very least, $100,000 changes hands in this manner at every game. My friends wondered how to get a job there. They wouldn't even require a salary.

-- Bob, Carlsbad

Aw, hell. Another get-sort-of-rich-kind-of-quick scheme shot in the foot. We were ready to apply for the job ourselves. The elves figured inhaling exhaust and toasting their toes on hot asphalt would have to be a rung up the career ladder. But then we called Ace Parking. Ace didn't get where they are today with loose accounting practices. Or the honor system, for that matter. Their secret? Car counters. Cables buried in the tarmac at each gate. Unless you can levitate your car as you drive in, you are tallied. So Ace does know exactly how many parkers are in the place and how many came in at each entrance. When the gates close, one representative from the City of San Diego and one from Ace read the counters and give the numbers to the head cashier, who then knows exactly how much money each gateminder should turn in. Ace claims the system is more reliable than dashboard receipts, and it's faster than those kiosks with the gate arms. Roving Ace supervisors (and the SDPD) keep their eyes on the creative among us who might try backing in through the bus lane or disguising themselves as Bruce Bochy hoping for a freebie.

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