Nearly a month after their introduction, Tauranga’s new paperless parking meters have had ‘how to use’ instructions added to them, but fail to remember registration plate details remain customers biggest issue.
“The parking team tell us they’ve had a few complaints where people have entered the wrong licence plate number, but it’s been easy enough to check back, find the error and resolve it for the customer,” says city council communications advisor Marcel Currin.
The machines now have “How To Use This Machine” stickers on them to help new users navigate the instructions.
Tauranga has chosen to go with the number plate entry instead of parking place entry because it links with the PayMyPark app, and the system allows the car to be moved within the parking zone.
It’s easier to resolve customer queries when they’re attached to the vehicle rather than a specific parking space.
The numbered parking bay system would need a whole lot of maintenance, because if a physical number is obscured, worn out or vandalised in any way there’s more room for errors and customer disputes.
Enforcement is done via licence plate recognition, the same as for PayMyPark.
When the car’s licence number is entered into the parking machine and payment made, the payment details for that licence number are communicated electronically to Council.
The parking officer on duty can then check the vehicle’s parking status by entering the licence plate into their mobile device.
The system only records parking information; it doesn’t give Council a remote way to check WOF or registration information which is a concern some people have raised.
Tauranga’s gone paperless because of pressure from the banks to update its machines to keep up with credit card technology, says transport manager Martin Parkes.
The paperless system saves people from returning to their vehicle to display a ticket.
“You will be able to pay and walk away without going back to the car. You will need to know your licence plate number or have it written down.”
The change to paperless parking has also reduced the number of parking machines in the city 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."
There is no paperless or virtual chalk involved. The parking officers check their mobile devices instead of looking on the car’s dash for a paper ticket.
They still walk the streets, check one car at a time and use real chalk. The 10min grace period also still applies as usual.