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Hefty parking fines hit hard

KATASHA M CCULLOUGH
Last updated 05:00 19/02/2013

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Stinging parking fines five times the price of an ordinary ticket are hurting motorists.

Wilson Parking's high fines and confusing tickets are concerning, Hibiscus and Bays Local Board chairwoman Julia Parfitt says.

Several people contacted the board after being ticketed on a Sunday in a car park at Clyde Rd in Browns Bay.

Ms Parfitt says one of them was eating breakfast at a cafe and returned to their car 15 minutes late to be hit with a $65 fine.

"Lots of people out there are hurting financially at the moment. It's a real stinging charge," she says.

The Clyde Rd car park is not owned by Wilson Parking, but is run by a division of the company, Parking Enforcement Services.

National manager Matt Ransom says $65 is a fair fee.

"This is a much more acceptable alternative to clamping or towing, which can cause considerable cost, inconvenience and difficulty for car park customers."

Wilson Parking customers are given a 15 minute grace period before being charged $65 for overstaying.

In an Auckland Transport car park a customer would need to exceed the time limit by more than six hours to receive a $57 fine.

Fees begin at $12 or less for a 30 minute overstay.

Ms Parfitt says a high fee does not act as deterrent.

"From what I've seen [a low fee] still manages to achieve the same result.

"People stop parking in areas they know are being policed."

Mr Ransom says there is an appeal process if customers feel they have been unfairly ticketed.

"We understand that the circumstances under which a car park customer may breach the terms of parking might vary and that not all breaches are deliberate or negligent."

Parking Enforcement Services looks after three car parks in Browns Bay and Mr Ransom says it "ensures that the car parks are kept free from abuse".

He says before the company serviced the area, businesses were negatively impacted because people used the parking and walked off site without shopping there.

Ms Parfitt says she would hate to see businesses affected now because of the high fine.

"Why such a hefty fee? It surprised

even me and I'm pretty unshockable."

She is also concerned the Wilson Parking tickets look very similar to Auckland Transport's, which is the reason people have been confused and complained to the local board instead of Wilson Parking.

She says they both have a "supermarket receipt" look and Wilson Parking is not clearly named on the top of the ticket.

Parking tickets are printed from handheld personal digital assistants which gives them the format, says Mr Ransom.

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- North Shore Times

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