Parking app may break rules

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 12:00 06/08/2013

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Palmerston North's re-written Traffic and Parking Bylaw might need yet another tweak to cover people paying through the Frogparking phone app.

The bylaw is included in an "omnibus" of reviews due to be signed off by the council at the end of the month.

Head of strategy and policy Neil Miller said the parking bylaw changes had been designed to provide greater clarity about the rules, improving on previous wording that could be "open to interpretation".

But Cr Susan Baty created last-minute uncertainty at the community wellbeing committee yesterday by asking whether payment by phone app complied. The bylaw states that "parking fees are payable only through parking machines".

The phone app enables people to bypass the parking meters. They can pay distantly for their park, from the comfort of their car, while walking to their destination, or by topping up from afar when the app's "ribbit" warns that paid time is almost up.

The option, introduced in May, is free to download to any iPhone or Android, and once the user is registered and has loaded a minimum $20 credit, it is ready to go.

Customer services manager Peter Eathorne said he could not answer the question about whether the smartphone payments were covered by the wording of the bylaw, or whether a change was needed. It would be prudent to get legal advice and report back to the full council, he said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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