One of the worst statistics in the WCC’s 2009/10 annual report is residents satisfaction with the availability of car parks. Only 41% of residents are satisfied with the availability of on-street parking on weekdays and 55% on weekends. The performance target is 85%.
In 2009/10 the city earned $25 million from car parks and spent $11 million, meaning it costs a dollar to earn one dollar of profit. This is depite parking wardens getting incentives such as ipods and trips to Sydney to exceeds their fine quotas. The on-street parking occupancy rate is only 77%.
Are parking wardens being too strict? Are the rules too strict? Would a more relaxed approach mean parks used more and less expenditure in collecting revenue? A lot of the focus seems to be on shoppers or visitors to the city, but people with cars live in the inner city and suburbs too.
Both John Bishop and Marcus Ganley want the city to ease up on, some might say, it’s overly strict enforcement of the parking rules. Wellington makes more money from parking enforcement than Auckland. But their way of getting to that place is quite different.
Ganley wants to take the enforcement of parking back in-house so the council has total control.
Time has come to reconsider whether we should be contracting out our parking management or whether we would be better off having council staff employed to make sure the rules were being followed, but with a focus on discretion and commonsense rather than meeting ticket quotas,
Bishop wants more council control of the incentives for the private provider Parkwise, an arm of Armourguard.
Under the contract with the council, Parkwise (Armourguard) gets paid for each and every ticket that is successfully issued – that means paid by the offender, so Parkwise has every reason to make sure that it issues plenty of tickets.
In turn Parkwise gives incentives like iPods and trips to Sydney to wardens who do a good job. (The council denies the wardens have quotas or targets). So if we want the wardens to be less mercenary then we have to change the system. Change the incentives and you change the system. Only the council can do that.
Which solution would work the best? Perhaps, these proposals sum up the differences between left and right on this issue as it does on so many others. You have a day and a half to decide which direction you wish to park in.