The Dunedin City Council has abandoned attempts to install a
paperless parking system in the inner city after it proved
too challenging for both motorists and parking wardens.
Staff decided not to adopt the machines after two trials over
the past 18 months, Cr Jinty MacTavish recently told a
hearing considering a plan for minimising waste in the city.
The solar-powered parking meters gave people the option of
not needing a receipt because the parking information was
stored in the meter and accessible on parking officers'
smartphones. However, the system was found to be too
confusing for people, she said.
The machines were installed in response to concerns about the
environmental effect of parking meter receipts.
The receipts are not biodegradable because their
plastic coating does not break down when exposed to the
The machines, which required motorists to input their car
registration number along with how much time was required and
choose their payment method, were trialled in the upper
Octagon for several months, before the trial was expanded to
several council car parks in the CBD.
Cr MacTavish, who launched the new system in March last year,
said the first trial was reasonably successful, but the
second did not go so well.
The system proved too slow for parking wardens to check, was
not user-friendly for customers and people were keying in the
Residents, especially older people, were finding it
challenging to use the key pad, remember registration numbers
and walk away without returning to their vehicles, she said.
Many were taking the optional receipt anyway.
''Staff have decided it was not an option, so I'm pushing
them to look at alternatives.''
She wished she had better news, she told one submitter on the
waste management and minimisation plan.
In response to a further question from the submitter, Cr
MacTavish said normal paper was not an option for the
receipts because it was affected by humidity, affecting
It also curled and discoloured in the sunlight while sitting
''I'm not trying to defend the [current] system. It's a
terrible system and I want to change it, but staff have not
yet found a system to replace it.''
Council Cityfleet team leader Brent Bachop said Cr
MacTavish's summary of the issues with the machines was
Up to 80% of people using the machines were still taking a
receipt to leave in their cars.
It had also taken longer for parking wardens to enforce
infringements because they had to access a separate system,
and people keyed in incorrect plate numbers.
Seven new machines were bought by the council for the trial,
at $7500 each, but they were part of the normal renewal of
machines, he said.
All had now been converted, free of charge, back to the usual
The council was now trialling stone paper, which was made
from stone waste.
It did not completely break down but was more biodegradable
than the plastic receipts issued at present, he said.
The stone paper looked like the paper used now.
Council waste strategy officer Catherine Irvine said stone
paper was only slightly better than the paper used at
present, but at least parking staff were thinking about more
A competition to find better alternatives to address the
parking receipt problem would be part of an action plan
developed from the waste management and minimisation plan,
once it was adopted, she said.