The new machine. Photo by ODT.
A trial of pay-by-plate parking meters has been extended
from the Octagon to other parts of Dunedin until March, when it
will be decided if the system should go citywide.
A $7500 parking meter which does not issue a ticket, unless a
receipt is specifically requested, was installed in March
last year after concerns about the amount of pollution caused
by paper parking tickets issued by standard parking meters.
The new machines, which are similar to the system used in
Brisbane, require users to input the amount of time they need
and their licence plate number.
Dunedin City Council regulatory services manager Kevin
Thompson said the paperless system also meant people could
input their cash and plate number and then go about their
business, rather than have to return to their vehicle to
place a ticket inside, which was advantageous to people with
disabilities and the elderly.
People could park in any slot within the area covered by the
meter while their paid time was current.
The Otago Daily Times was recently contacted by a reader
concerned the meters could lead to an invasion of privacy on
the part of the council.
David Cohen said he was concerned about whether there were
safeguards on the information being collected, who could
access and use it and the potential for the wholesale
collection of personal movement information entailed in
knowing where, and for how long, people park.
Dunedin City Council parking meter technician Reece Smith
said the council had been contacted with similar concerns,
but was confident there would be no privacy issues with the
He said the time paid and licence plate number entered into
the machine was sent to a website, run by the meter company,
accessible only by council meter technicians, parking
officers and a parking services administrator, who had
specific log-in details.
The information was accessed via a hand-held device by
parking officers checking areas covered by the meters.
No personal information was held on the website, only the
licence plate number, which was not linked to a name or
If a vehicle was found to be infringing parking rules,
officers then followed their normal enforcement procedures on
a separate hand-held device to issue an infringement notice.
Once the paid-for parking time was up, the plate number was
automatically deleted from the website, Mr Smith said.
If the system became permanent, a time period for holding the
information from the meter in the case of infringements,
giving people enough time to challenge a ticket, would have
to be set.
Mr Thompson said a survey of users last year showed 79% liked
the new Octagon machine.
Negative feedback mainly centred around change and
frustrations at using a different system, and having to
memorise or go back for licence plate numbers.
As a result of the survey, it was decided to extend the trial
and install more machines, at the council's Filleul St and
Frederick St car parks, he said.
If the trial was successful and received council endorsement,
other meters around town could be converted at no extra cost
when they needed to be refurbished.
The project would be paid for within existing budgets and
over several years.