Drivers fined $3m a month

By Mathew Dearnaley

AA shocked at rise in amount collected by Auckland Transport for vehicle offences.

The figures detail $36.2 million of fines collected from motorists in the financial year to June 30. Photo / Martin Sykes
The figures detail $36.2 million of fines collected from motorists in the financial year to June 30. Photo / Martin Sykes

Auckland Transport has been slugging motorists with fines of $3 million a month for parking and other vehicle offences.

Figures it supplied to the Herald for its first 20 months have shocked the Automobile Association, which suspects they reflect "anti-car" tendencies of its Auckland Council parent.

The figures detail $36.2 million of fines collected from motorists in the financial year to June 30.

That leaped from $20.5 million for the previous eight months, from when Auckland Transport began business in November 2010.

Although the latest total was for a longer period, the monthly average has risen to just over $3 million from $2.54 million in the organisation's early days.

The $17 million was Auckland Transport's half-share of warrant and registration fines. The Ministry of Transport received the rest.

But AA spokesman Simon Lambourne believed an increase in parking fines from $4.4 million for the eight months to last winter, to $7.2 million in the year to June 30, showed too much effort put into enforcement of a flawed system and not enough into education.

That was not counting $16.4 million in court penalties for all types of vehicle infringement over the year.

Auckland Transport also raised $32.7 million last financial year from standard motorists' fees for street parking and parking buildings, and $2.1 million from bus lane infringements, although that represented an easing from $1.9 million collected for the previous eight months.

Of parking fines, Mr Lambourne said: "The amount of money being collected is alarming. It's not being realistic about the importance of the car to mobility in Auckland."

He said the launch of an inner-city parking scheme next month, which will charge motorists based on which of three zones they are in, would lead to further confusion.

Auckland Transport spokeswoman Sharon Hunter said the inner-city scheme would also include 10 minutes of free parking as well as the removal of time restrictions for those prepared to pay, and followed responses to public submissions.

"Infringement penalties are simply for those who break the law. We have removed the time limit, so it's easier to comply - just pay for time of use."

She said Auckland Transport provided thousands of free park-and-ride spaces at bus and train stations and ferry terminals "so we spread the return across all parking investment" and was considering limited provision for commuter parking in St Mary's Bay.

- NZ Herald

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