Parking profits take a plunge

    Fred George, of Rolleston, isn't a fan of the parking meters installed on Invercargill streets in December, and believes they may prevent people from wanting to park in town.

    PARKING tickets have taken a plunge in Invercargill as the flash new meters make an impact.

    Invercargill City Council (ICC) parking wardens have issued 38% fewer parking tickets under the new parking meter system.

    That has led to a drop in revenue for the city, although it was still early days.

    Figures released by the ICC show 1753 infringement notices were issued through the new parking meter system from December 2021, when the new parking meters were installed, to this month.

    This is a 38% reduction compared with the 2821 notices issued by ICC between December 2020 and April 2021.

    Whether it was due to a lack of payment options or the new 30-minutes’ free parking policy, parking revenue totalled $123,048.43 for the four months to April – about $14,000 less than the previous year.

    ICC infrastructure group manager Erin Moogan said council had spent $800,000 to retire its 750 coin-operated parking meters and install 85 kiosks across the city centre.

    The upgrade was planned since 2019 but constraints related to Covid-19 had delayed the process.

    While the move was welcomed by many within the community, some have struggled to adapt to the new technology.

    “We received initial feedback that at some of the kiosk locations the screens can be difficult to read in bright sunlight at certain times of day.

    “However, being able to use credit cards without a surcharge has been welcomed by a significant proportion of our parking customers, based on the payment mix.”

    In the past, ICC roading manager Russell Pearson said this was some of the biggest feedback council received from residents about the parking system, saying people ” no longer have coins”.

    However, figures show people still use cash to pay for their parking.

    For March 2022, 7553 transactions were paid by credit card, while 7164 were paid by cash.

    “We are pleased that there have been 11,849 instances where 15 minutes or 30 minutes of parking at no charge were used by our parking customers.”

    Ms Moogan said the inner-city accounted for the most infringements issued.

    Rolleston man Fred George was visiting Invercargill last week, and said the introduction of the parking meters in his home town had an effect on people willing to park downtown as they cast a wider net.

    “The people who brought them in are not inviting us into the town.”