Parking firm must dole out 18,500 tickets

Last updated 13:00 20/02/2014

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Nelson City Council's contracted out parking operation is required to issue at least 18,500 tickets a year.

That's 1300 more than the council parking wardens used to average a year.

However, the contractor, Environmental Services, is already on the way to well exceeding that.

In the first four months of its contract it dished out 7511 tickets, and if that rate continues for the rest of the year it will issue around 22,530.

Revenue is already up 26 per cent, to $646,509 for the four months.

The council says there are no incentives for Environmental Services, which has a fixed price contract, or its staff who are paid a fixed salary. It would not say how much the contract was worth, citing commercial sensitivity, but confirmed the minimum ticket number in the contract is 18,500 a year.

The big jumps have been in the number of tickets Environmental Services has issued for vehicles not having a warrant of fitness - up from 723 to 1060, or not having a vehicle licence - up from 1120 to 1390. Both result in $200 fines.

Other common fines are for parking over the time limit: $12 for less than 30 minutes over, $15 for less than an hour, $21 for one to two hours and $30 for two to four hours. Motorists get a $3 discount for paying their fine within two weeks.

Failing to display a valid parking permit costs a $40 fine and displaying an expired parking permit $12.

Hundreds of Nelson city senior citizens are taking advantage of a Senior Parking Pass so they don't have to pay parking charges. It costs $20 a year but it allows residents over 65 years to park in the Nelson Central Business District free for one hour a day, and 376 residents now have the passes.

Wellington City Council has decided to bring back in-house its parking operations following criticism of its contractors' high ticketing rates. The Nelson City Council, which began contracting out last October, says it will review its contract in June 2015.

Feedback from the public shows Nelson City's parking enforcement is having an impact.

The city council is working on a Nelson Parking Strategy with Abley Transportation Consultants which will cover central Nelson as well as the Stoke and Tahunanui business areas.

The first workshop to discuss parking issues was held with interest groups last Friday and a draft strategy will go out for public consultation.

Uniquely Nelson manager Cathy Madigan said she believed concern about an increased level of enforcement would settle down once people became aware they were not going not get away with failing to have a WOF and would get a $200 fine.

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"If it's just about parking meter tickets I don't think anything much has changed. If you can't afford a warrant of fitness maybe you are not a shopper anyway."

- The Nelson Mail

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