Carpark giveaways curbed

By Mathew Dearnaley

Auckland is installing 'pay-by-plate' parking machines. Photo / APN
Auckland is installing 'pay-by-plate' parking machines. Photo / APN

The time-honoured practice of motorists giving unexpired parking tickets away to strangers once they have finished with them is to be curbed in Auckland.

Auckland Transport is installing "pay-by-plate" parking machines which will require users to provide their car registration number before issuing them a ticket that cannot be used for other vehicles.

Three machines have been put into the newly redeveloped Jellicoe St in Wynyard Quarter and more will be installed elsewhere in Auckland.

Takapuna will get eight machines and Waiheke Island will get four next week as Auckland Transport prepares to call for tenders for the supply of almost 950 others.

The council-controlled organisation said the system would make lost tickets easier to verify and allow motorcycles to park in pay-and-display areas. Ultimately, the agency would be able to operate the system without paper tickets.

Asked whether the system was designed to maximise parking revenue by preventing motorists from giving away unexpired tickets, communications manager Sharon Hunter said the organisation was "all about giving more choice to the customer through innovation".

But people posting on the transport website www.aktnz.co.nz have bemoaned the loss of opportunity to perform random acts of kindness.

"I always thought giving your unused parking ticket to the next guy was a good solidarity builder amongst the community," said one person.

"It's a feel-good feeling when you give or receive free parking from a stranger - after all, the time has already been paid for and if you're leaving early, it seems fair."

Another said maximising revenue was obviously the purpose.

"Quite simply, it is motivated by greed," he said.

Ms Hunter denied that, saying Auckland Transport's aim was "to put the customer first".

"People might have to look around and find other random acts of kindness," she said.

- NZ Herald

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