Legal issues delay paperless parking

Paperless parking has been put off until July.

Paperless parking in the city has been put off until July because of a legal conflict with the Tauranga City Council's own parking bylaw.

The current bylaw empowers the council to collect parking fees from parking spaces that are controlled by pay and display parking meters.

It's the use of the phrase “pay and display” which may bring the paperless system in conflict with the council Traffic and Parking Bylaw (2012).

“Recent experience has taught us that even though the intent of a bylaw might be obvious, the precise wording needs to stand up to legal scrutiny so that no one can take advantage of technical loopholes,” says city council transportation manager Martin Parkes.

The words ‘pay and display' will be changed in the bylaw, along with several other minor amendments, including changing the term ‘public place' to ‘parking places'.

Any update to a council bylaw requires a formal amendment process, which includes a month of public consultation followed by hearings and deliberations, effectively postponing an upgrade of the pay and display parking machines until July.

“It is frustrating that we have to go through a complete process to change a few words, but this is the reality that local government operates under,” says Martin.

“We need to future-proof the parking machines. The bylaw needs to be future-proofed as well so that we can move ahead with new technology.”

The upgrade was due to start this month but Tauranga City Council's internal legal advisors warned that wording in the Traffic and Parking Bylaw (2012) needs to be updated first. 

The paperless system was advertised in March, with the public being told that from this month CBD parking customers would be required to enter the vehicle registration number when paying at the parking machines.

The new system will send the information to the city council, enabling parking officers to check each vehicle's parking status according to its registration plate. No ticket will be issued by the machine for display.

City council staff say the city's system does not connect with the Ministry of Transport's computers. They cannot tell if the vehicle's warrant of fitness and registration are current.

All the standard payment options remain. Customers can still pay with cash, it's just that the machine will no longer print a ticket to display.

Shifting to the paperless system will save people the hassle of returning to their vehicle to display a ticket, says Martin. E-receipts are available.

The change is happening because the banking industry requires the council to upgrade the credit card function on all parking machines by June this year.

“We're taking the opportunity to future-proof the machines at the same time.”

Once begin it will take about a month to change over all the machines to paperless. The outer machine shells will remain, with the internal units being swapped for the pay-by-plate consoles. The total number of parking machines will reduce from 153 to 110.

“People won't have to return to their cars to display tickets, so we can increase the distance between each on-street parking machine,'” says Martin.

"The paperless system will also save the council a lot of maintenance. Most maintenance issues are caused by paper jams in the machines."

Bylaws and Parking team leader, Stuart Goodman says a parking payment app introduced last year has already demonstrated that people can adjust to paying for parking without displaying a ticket.

“PayMyPark is a handy app that lets you manage your parking remotely,” says Stuart. 

“More people are using PayMyPark each month. Two hundred new users have signed up since January.

“It can be a bit unsettling the first time you walk away from your car having paid without displaying a ticket. But people get used to it pretty quickly and seem to prefer it.

“Building on the success of PayMyPark, we're looking forward to the whole system going paperless. It will be more efficient for our records and enable us to verify customer queries quickly and accurately.”

PayMyPark is free to download from the Google Play Store and the App Store.



5 Comments

Ha,ha

Posted on 13-04-2017 13:19 | By overit

Love it. Shame its going to cost the ratepayer to readvertise.

Waste of money again

Posted on 13-04-2017 12:21 | By normal local

So I assume they paid for the radio advertising which is now wated and they will have to do it again in a couple of months when it finally gets into force.Not to mention the confusion for everyone.A great team of leaders we have.

here we go again

Posted on 13-04-2017 11:37 | By old trucker

For goodness sake, just leave everything alone,there is enough stress out there,i tried to get a park for me horse other day and had to tie her up in park and walk,gosh there was not one spare,here is a good idea,take the STUPID BUS STOP out of Grey street, surely lazy people could walk to Willow street to get on and STOP all buses using Grey st altogeather,take all the little spaces outside on main street and would FREE up at least 20 parks,but NO, Mr nosey Parkes will do what he wants, and why wont he answer the phone ,*(he is always out) or in a meeting or haveing lunch on US somewhere, my thoughts only Sunlive,Thanks for updating us with all the latest news when you can,Thankyou.10-4 out.

Classic............

Posted on 13-04-2017 09:56 | By The Hobbit

Thwarted by your own stupid bylaws Mr Parkes...........absolute classic!!! It's a shame bylaws can be changed so easily and so cheap. :-) Don't go blaming the public for getting smarter and using the wording in the bylaws to their advantage. The smarter thing to do would be to remove all parking meters and have free parking in the city which is already paid for through taxes incidentally - then you wouldn't need to change the bylaw, and maybe more people would shop in the CBD!!

How Unusual

Posted on 13-04-2017 09:21 | By CC8

Martin Parkes takes the opportunity to spend u more and more rates. This will keep a lot of older people out of the metered area of town, so retailers better adjust their stock and target markets. That will make Mr Parkes happy because the "annoying" senior citizens won't be blocking up the parking spaces he is saving for the workers, which the council is so keen to bring into the city. He has filled up the formerly literally unused, white elephant, parking buildings by giving away free and discounted parking to the workers at Trustpower's Durham street edifice , that's the 500 who only get 30 mins for lunch and therefore don't have time to shop or enliven the city .... All in all the planners and manipulators and advisors at TCC have got it all wrong ...as usual,

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