Senior wins parking battle with council

Last updated 12:03 20/03/2014

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An Atawhai resident  has successfully challenged the way Nelson City Council issues parking tickets to senior citizens.

Pam Grant contacted The Leader after she was issued with a $40 ticket for exceeding the one hour time limit at Buxton Square carpark on Saturday.

Pam had her Senior Parking Pass displayed on the dashboard, when she was ticketed.

However her $40 ticket said she did not have a parking permit displayed.

Pam says she thought her Senior Parking Pass should qualify as a parking permit and she should have only been charged $12.

This lower rate is charged for people who have bought a ticket but have exceeded its limit.

Pam contacted The Leader as she was worried other senior citizens with a parking pass would be ticketed at the higher limit if they overstayed their allocated one hour free parking.

She also thought the logic behind her getting a $40 ticket was wrong, and believed her Senior Parking Pass should qualify as a parking permit.

This pass entitles Nelson ratepayers over 65 to one hour free parking before they have to buy a ticket from the meter.

Nelson City Council communication spokeswoman Angela Ricker said the issue had "prompted a review and a change in approach from now on".

The council has offered to refund Pam's ticket in full.

Angela says from now on the parking will accept the display of the Senior Parking Pass as the same as displaying a ticket from the meter.

"This means anyone who exceeds the one hour free parking and hasn't bought a ticket from the machine will still be liable for a fine but it will be on the basis of an expired ticket."

People who have a ticket but exceed it are ticketed on a graduated scale.

If they exceed the ticket for 30 minutes and under they can be issued with a $12 fine, from 30 minutes to one hour this increases to $15.

For more than one hour but not more than two hours it jumps to $21.

For people exceeding the limit by more than six hours the ticket jumps to $57.

Angela says the change in approach should help to avoid the confusion that some people have had about the difference between the Senior Parking Pass and a ticket bought from the meter (referred to as a parking permit).

To qualify for a Senior Parking Pass you must be a Nelson City Council resident, be 65 years of age or over and have a valid driver's licence. The pass is specific to the vehicle. An application form can be obtained and completed at the Customer Service counter; a permit will then be issued. Details are all available on http://nelson.govt.nz/services/transport/parking/senior-parking-pass/

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