Inner-city parking goes hi-tech but coins still OK
An hour of free inner-city parking and a car which scans registration plates are part of the new-look Rotorua parking being rolled out over the coming weeks.
Parking in the city is being overhauled and new parking wardens, modern payment machines and new payment zones will be rolled out by the end of summer.
Rotorua Lakes Council partnered with service provider i-Park in May this year as a way to modernise obsolete parking gear and address the increased operating costs and declining revenue.
In Thursday’s operations and monitoring committee meeting, council group manager for operations Henry Weston, community compliance team leader Kurt Williams and manager of community and regulatory services Neven Hill presented an update on what is planned for rolling out the system.
The new system is being implemented in three phases, and stage one is already under way with new parking warden staff undergoing training.
Stage two of the rollout involves a ‘scan car’ hitting the streets. The car is fitted with a camera which scans car registration plates.
Weston said the car would be on the road in the next couple of weeks, initially checking for out-ofdate registrations and warrants of fitness.
As the new parking meters are rolled out, from mid-November, the car would also scan for vehicles which haven’t paid for parking or have gone over the time they’ve paid for.
The car then communicated directly with the parking wardens.
The first group of 10 parking terminals will be installed from next month with the remainder to be installed by the end of January.
Williams said the machines were very good quality and included several payment options.
The new-look terminals are solar-powered, with a 18cm digital screen, which motorists can use to input car registration numbers, instead of a pay-and-display.
Public consultation found many drivers wanted to still use coins, so half the terminals will be able to take coins. All of the terminals will be able to accept debit and credit cards with chips or paywave.
“What we’re looking for is these machines to replace the approximately 800 meters currently out in the city, there’ll be about 76 of these new machines out on the street,” Williams said. “The key difference is to move away from a standard pay and display, to a pay by plate system instead.”
There will be one terminal for every 20 parks and where a machine does not take coins, there will be one located across the road that does, he said.
Additional functions will be introduced after the system is fully implemented and running well.
This includes the ability to pay using a parking app, the ability to promote information such as notices and events on the digital screen and the option to use multiple languages such as te reo.
Parking policy and fee setting remain with the council and the new parking zones will take effect as the scheme rolls out, including an hour of free parking downtown.