Amid apparent discontent, some 6000 vehicles per day are using the newly installed inner-city parking machines in Rotorua.
And despite what also are seen as ‘teething problems’, the Rotorua Lakes Council is garnering much revenue from the i-Park contract.
At today’s meeting of the council’s operations and monitoring committee meeting, the 6000 paying vehicles also accounted for a 50c impost on credit card use – broadly inferring banks reaped $3000 per day on usage.
Questioned by Te Arawa council representative Rawiri Waru, the council’s infrastructure manager Stavros Michael says there are no plans to eventually confine the machines to card only.
He also says, to a question by councillor Sandra Kai Fong, that the 50c bank transaction fee is used to cover internal banking operations, likening it to the same imposts when the public withdrew cash from ATM machines.
Was there some way to make an exemption for the public using the parking machines?
“It’s a fair point – and we need to apply some thinking towards it.”
“The 50c covers the transaction, the banking fees and so on.” The council could look at an ‘inclusive’ fee. It was something the council could work on, Stavros says.
To a further question, Stavros said revenue from parking came from 70 percent of users paying through cards, while 30 per cent paid in cash.
Before the introduction of the machines, occupancy rates in the CBD was higher mainly because parks were used by workers involved in council operations.
Councillor Peter Bentley says a lot of the problems with the system will be alleviated if people are allowed to use Eftpos rather than credit card facilities.
“I, for example, don’t carry a credit card at all; if I was to pay for parking I would be in a bit of a quandary because I can’t be bothered walking the distance to fine a coin machine, quite frankly.”
The machines are 90 percent exposed in inclement weather.
“It’s extremely uncomfortable for people to try and understand what they’re supposed to be doing if they’re not familiar with the system and more often they give up in disgust and run the risk of their $40-odd fine.”
Peter says it’s now a long time since the council has looked at the issue of parking.
“When are we gonna make it user friendly so people can enjoy coming to town once again, rather than avoid it?”
In raising a point of order, Mayor Steve Chadwick says she had heard all the remedies of finance and ongoing continuous review and “some very good mitigation” of the problem “we had all identified”.
The system was only installed in May last year, Steve says, so this is about the right time to look at it.
“We’ve all had your concerns – we’re going to keep getting them [so] feed them through to the chief executive as part of a review.
Stavros delivered a presentation of the relatively new parking system following a period of seven months, and confusion at zones in the CBD which provided free parking areas and those which were charged.
Te Arawa’s Aroha Bray asked whether payment by cash will be phased out. “If so, I would be very concerned for the Rotorua community.”
“We will not be phasing out the coins – we made what we considered a balanced approach,” says Stavros.
Further, the first hour of parking in some zones was free which the public did not appear to appreciate.
But Stavros agreed to a question by councillor Mercia Yates that better education of the CBD parking zones arrangement could be considered.