Curbing kerb anger
New Plymouth's new parking system is exposing woeful short-term memories among some city shoppers.
Going live yesterday, the new electronically monitored parking system does away with individual meters.
Payments are instead made to a nearby machine, which services up to eight car parks all marked with unique four digit numbers.
At most, parkers have to walk about 20 steps to the nearest meter. The problem is, some can't remember their four-digit parking space number across such a distance.
"One young girl, she was in her 30s, and she came down to the meter three times before she could remember her number," New Plymouth District Council parking officer Lyn Adlam said.
"She said: ‘Well my mum's in her 70s and she'll never remember,' but she couldn't remember either."
In town all day to help people get used to the new parking process, Mrs Adlam said everyone had been quite happy to give the new system a go. One of those was Janet Finer, of Tikorangi, who had parked her car in Centre City but was curious about the new system anyway.
"Well, they won't be helping forever and you don't come to town every day. That's why I thought I would ask how to do it," she said.
Aside from forgetting their space number, the most common mistake was people putting the receipt on their dashboard or under their window wiper, as though it was a pay and display ticket. It is not.
The receipt is issued as proof of payment in case parkers enter the wrong space number and are inadvertently ticketed.
The new system replaces more than 600 coin-operated parking meters and is monitored electronically, letting wardens know when a car has stayed past its allotted time.
At this stage payment can only be made with coins, but credit card and phone payment options will be added within weeks.
Bought and installed at a cost of $1.2 million, the system is expected to increase council's parking infringement collection by an extra $270,000. No fines were issued yesterday to allow people time to adjust to the changes. Old meters can be bought from the council for $60, or $70 with pole.
1. Stop car
2. Walk to kerb
3. Look down
4. Note four-digit number
5. Walk to meter
6. Enter number into parking meter
7. Press OK
8. Put money in
9. Take receipt
10. Put it in your purse or wallet
11. Walk away
Taranaki Daily News