Dunedin City Council parking meter technician Reece Smith
checks the credit card-reader in a parking meter in the
Octagon. Photo by Jonathan Chilton-Towle.
The Dunedin City Council is working to upgrade parking
meters in high-use areas after reports of worn card readers.
A member of the public contacted The Star after more than
once being unable to use a credit card to pay for parking at
several Dunedin parking meters.
The caller said the meters failed to read her card with
''It's happened to me probably six times in the past week and
that's just not good enough,'' she said.
''If you don't have any coins in your pocket, you can't use
them [the machines].
''It's frustrating, it's inconvenient, and puts you in danger
of copping a $40 parking ticket, which I find infuriating.''
However, she said council staff were ''pretty good to deal
with'' when she phoned the DCC call centre to complain.
Council group manager regulatory services Kevin Thompson said
the issues with the meters were caused by wear and tear on
the card reader.
In some of the older meters, the plastic surface the card was
swiped against had begun to wear, which meant moisture got
into the machine on wet days and caused it to fail.
While information on how many complaints were made about the
meters was unavailable, people regularly phoned in about the
meters not reading cards, Mr Thompson said.
About 20 problematic meters in high-use areas had been
upgraded with new card readers.
Problematic meters in lower-use areas had a sticker placed
over the card reader slot so credit cards could no longer be
used. Information was not available on how many meters had
Dunedin had 350 meters but not all of these had a credit card
facility. Because upgrading the card reader in a meter cost
$1500 it was not possible to upgrade all the meters at once,
''As budget permits units are being upgraded in high-use
areas,'' Mr Thompson said.
The card reader not working was a valid reason for voiding a
parking ticket, even if the driver did not call the council
and report the fault.
Alternative methods of payment, such as text-to-park and the
old-fashioned coins were still available, he said.