New park­ing cards eas­ier to po­lice

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

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.

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