Whanganui's parking meters are "past their use-by date" and some are permanently out of action because they can't be fixed.
Whanganui District Council's regulatory and planning group manager Hamish Lampp this week reported to the Property and Community Services Committee about ongoing issues with the city's parking meters.
"Parking staff continue to respond to increasing meter fault complaints. The faults are due to the ageing meters and are overdue for replacement. Some meters are now permanently out of action due to obsolete replacement parts. A business case and procurement plan for meter replacement is a work in progress.
"During this [quarterly] reporting period, parking services received 420 notifications of meter repairs. This has taken up a significant part of a parking officer's time to ensure that the meters are functioning. New parking technology will alleviate this demand."
Committee chairwoman Councillor Helen Craig said the council's parking meters were "past their use-by date".
Councillors had attended a workshop this week to look at a particular parking product to see how it worked and the features available.
"The technology has moved a long way in the last couple of years and you can do all sorts of things," Craig said.
However, a decision on new technology and meter replacement was some way off, she said.
Compliance operations manager Jason Shailer said currently three Reino meters in Victoria Ave were out of action because the council could not source replacement parts.
The council has 44 of the 16-year-old Reino meters in Victoria Ave between Taupō Quay and Ingestre St. As far back as 2012, the council signalled the need to replace the Reino meters, saying they had poor weatherproofing and required a lot of maintenance which no company in New Zealand could perform.
There is a mix of other meter types around the central city, including 177 single-head Duncan meters that are about 35 years old. They are in Guyton St (32 meters), Watt St (48), Ridgway St (62), Maria Place (5) and St Hill St (30).
In Drews Ave, there are four on-street pay and display machines, each about four years old. There are four off-street pay and display machines in St Hill St, Drews Ave, Ingestre St and Moutoa Quay. These machines are about 25 years old.
The newest parking meters are in Taupō Quay. The four meters were installed in March 2019.
Shailer said all parking meters were up for replacement.
"Depending on who the successful tender is, we would prefer to have one parking meter system in Whanganui instead of the four parking meter systems we have at the moment," he said.
"If the successful tender is the same supplier of those four newer meters on Taupō Quay then we will probably keep them and not replace. However, if another company was successful we would probably replace to ensure we have the one parking meter system across Whanganui.
"The replacements will be new technology. The exact model is unknown because we need to go to tender but we would prefer meters with multiple paying options such as coins/credit or debit cards/app-based payments or QR code payments."
Currently the council had no plan to increase or decrease parking fees, Shailer said.
"We're unsure if the revenue will increase or decrease once the new meters are in place."
The reason for the parking meter replacement project was not to increase revenue, he said.
"The goal is to improve convenience for the public with regards to multiple payment options, introduce modern technology to replace our ageing meters, decrease 'visual pollution' by removing meters at the end of each car park space to only one meter for multiple spaces, and reduce the time and cost spent on maintaining obsolete meters."
In the July 2019-June 2020 financial year the council raised $492,761 from parking meters, but this included the Covid-19 lockdown period. In the 2018/19 financial year, the meters raised $527,280.