New meters cause issues for some

    Bright sunlight on the front of the newly installed smart meters was making instructions almost impossible to read for Central Southland residents Flora and Les when they visited the Invercargill CBD on Monday.
    Council contractors left a dangerous pedestrian hazard after removing the council’s lollipop meters during the weekend. Photo: Supplied

    A PIPE protruding from a footpath with jagged edges, and navigating the new technology, are two gripes Southlanders have regarding the newly installed parking meters in Invercargill.

    An Invercargill City Council (ICC) spokeswoman confirmed contractors had removed 700 meters from the Invercargill CBD during the weekend, replaced with the new solar-powered smart meters.

    The new pay-by-plate smart meters, went live on Monday, allowing for unlimited parking which could be paid by cash, paywave, or via a PayMyPark phone app.

    The ICC website says parking would be charged in 15 minute increments with the first 30 minutes free. Fees escalated the longer the park was used. The first full hour would cost $1, $3 for two hours and $4 per hour after that. Parking for nine hours on Wood St had gone from $13.50 a day to $31.

    The council also extended the paid CBD parking area to include sections of The Crescent, Liddel, Clyde and Forth Sts.

    While the flat-fee lollipop meters had time restrictions, the new meters allowed users to pay for additional and unlimited parking as needed, without having to revisit the meter.

    Fines for not paying correctly, would cost between $12 and $57.

    The meters were proving problematic for some users, with some elderly people struggling to embrace the new technology.

    Central Southland residents Flora and Les, who did not want to publish their surname, were struggling to use the new meters on Monday.

    Besides coping with the new technology, the north-facing screens were catching the mid-day sun making it almost impossible to read instructions.

    “It’s shocking. They’ve taken away our cheque books and everything we are used to at our age,” Les said.

    “Now they expect us to work them [the meters]. I can hardly work my phone.”

    One concerned resident emailed the Southland Express on Monday with a photo of the remnants of a lollipop meter which had been cut off. It showed jagged edges and a hole left in the ground a concerning safety hazard for pedestrians to negotiate.

    “It would seem that in their haste to remove the old parking meters from the city, the council’s contractor has left significant hazards on the footpaths,” the email said.

    “I wouldn’t want to stand on one of these razor sharp spikes.”

    The ICC has loaded a training YouTube video link on to its website.