New parking cards easier to police
A revamped mobility parking permit scheme will see the chunky orange plastic cards currently in use replaced by a barcoded card.
The new system can be checked in real-time by parking wardens.
Scanning the barcode will instantly advise wardens whether the card is current and valid or whether it is stolen, CCS chief executive David Matthews says.
The Auckland-based organisation administers the 34-year-old parking scheme which is intended to make it easier for people with disabilities to get out in the community.
‘‘The scheme is growing by about 5000 permit holders a year, so it’s clearly meeting a need,’’ Mr Matthews says.
The dashboard display card allows the bearer to park in spots that are often closer to building entrances; it also allows the bearer to park for longer times in public spaces.
Wheelchair user Graeme Sinclair says the cards are crucial to his role as the presenter for Gone Fishing – a job that sees him travelling all over the country.
‘‘It provides not only immediate access but also handy access to a lot of important locations,’’ he says.
‘‘The only frustration I have with the system is when there are buggers who are parked in a disability park who shouldn’t be there.’’
Mr Matthews hopes changes to the parking scheme will help reduce the number of people abusing the system.
There is a high occurrence of people without the permits parking in disabled spots, which can incur a $150 fine.
Cards also get stolen and misused by ineligible people.
Mr Matthews says as well as making the cards easier for wardens to monitor the changes also see the criteria widen for people who qualify for the permits.
‘‘And we’ve made the criteria a lot clearer and sim- pler, so people can fully understand who is eligible.’’
Further changes will also see the process of application streamlined with people being able to apply online in the next six months, Mr Matthews says.
New applicants will get the redesigned card, and current cardholders will get the new card when their card expires.
Parking permits are used by more than 100,000 people nationwide.