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Farewell party for Canberra’s last parking meter

By Charlotte Harper - 20 January 2017 9

Michael Pettersson and Mick Gentleman with the last parking meter. Photo: Supplied

The last of the city’s single-space meters was removed from Braddon this morning with a little fanfare, ACT politics-style, with not one by two MLAs lifting the meter off its pole.

Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman (right) was joined by young gun Member for Yerrabi Michael Pettersson (left) for the Lonsdale Street occasion pictured above. There were no meter maids on hand for the big moment.

Meters were first used here in the 1970s when parking cost an hour. Those were the days!

Coins are becoming a relic of the past, with 145 pay and display parking machines replacing 868 meters in Braddon, Civic and Woden, allowing Canberrans to use credit cards, debit cards or the ParkMobile app to pay for their parking instead of coins if they prefer.

I’m interested to know, RiotACT readers, whether you’re fans of the ParkMobile app? I use it all the time, because I like the reminders it sends me when my parking is about to expire, and because crikey those parking machines are slow to process credit card payments.

Mr Gentleman has pointed out in his media statement about the meter farewell that tap and go technology is available on parking machines now, so I’ll have to remember to use that next time my Optus network fails me rather than sticking my card into the machine and twiddling my thumbs.

The only trick with the app is to make sure you register it for the correct car if you use multiple cars or replace your vehicle. My first car, the beloved Green Golf, died a few months back after 16 years of good service, and I thoughtlessly kept parking without updating to its replacement in ParkMobile. The inspectors had no idea I’d paid up, because the licence plate of my parked car didn’t match that in the app. Parking ticket ahoy. Needless to say I have subsequently fixed the issue with the app and am in the process of trying to appeal the ticket as I have proof of payment for the period in which I was fined. I hit a stumbling block when they insisted on further paperwork to prove I was actually driving the car at the time, because it’s registered in my husband’s name, not mine. My email confessing to such a foolish error and providing the receipt from ParkMobile stating the date and time was not enough, apparently. Surely processing further paperwork on this is as much a waste of ACT public servants’ time as it is of mine? Sigh.

Mr Gentleman also talks up the current smart parking trial in Manuka, with its use of embedded infrared sensors, LED signs and the ParkCBR app. But is anyone using it? I confess I haven’t, and I even attended the launch. Maybe the fact that everyone else is using it means it’s easier for the rest of us to find a park? Have you tried it? Was it useful?

And will you miss parking meters? I will. I liked the way they ticked from the second the money landed, reminding you in a very personal way to hurry back. Vale, metal coin munchers.

What’s Your opinion?


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9 Responses to
Farewell party for Canberra’s last parking meter
1
Chris Mordd Richards 3:58 pm
20 Jan 17
#

Won’t miss the old meters. Convenience of paying without cash and adding more time without having to go back are far too valuable to me. Use the parkmobile app all the time now!

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2
Maya123 10:58 am
21 Jan 17
#

“145 pay and display parking machines replacing 868 meters in Braddon, Civic and Woden, allowing Canberrans to use credit cards”

Last time I tried to use a credit card on a machine it was refusing credit cards. The line behind me was embarrassingly getting longer, because I didn’t have a coin (another option) to use. Finally someone handed me a dollar coin to get the line moving. But then I suppose if the machine only had a credit card option it would become obvious it wasn’t working, because no-one could pay. As for an app, there are still many of us who don’t have this option, because we try to limit our expenses.

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3
TuggLife 4:05 pm
21 Jan 17
#

The new meters frustrate me when I’ve got multiple children with me. I’ve got very little children and it is always stressful.

Usually, I have to hope I can find a park within cooee of a machine and then I have to either get everyone out and wander through the carpark together, trying to keep them occupied while I buy a ticket, or I have to leave them in the car (which I’d never do on a hot day) and pray there isn’t a queue. Neither is as convenient or safe as having a meter next to the park, although I understand why they’re a bit old-fashioned now.

I’d love to know what others do with young kids, because I usually just give up and park in the Canberra Centre. Inexplicably, the parking app never seems to work for me.

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4
nealg 9:15 pm
21 Jan 17
#

TuggLife said :

Inexplicably, the parking app never seems to work for me.

If you are referring to Parkmobile and are using it on an iPhone (Android is similar), make sure you have the app set to be able to be used with cellular data. This is a toggle ‘switch’ in Settings/Mobile (swipe up to find Parkmobile’s switch).
Other than that it may be a registration/setup issue between you and the company.

One issue I have with the new parking meters is the difference between the ACT Government’s meters and NCAs. The NCA ones do not work with the app. A stupid example is the meters at the National Film and Sound Archive are NCA but just across the road in front of the Acadamy of Science they are ACT Gov ones.
Similarly you cannot use the app with the meters anywhere in the Parliamentary Triangle.
Surely an agreement could be set up between the two bodies where one type of meter is installed in the ACT and any funds raised in the Triangle goes to the NCA.
Or am I asking for too much……………..

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5
nealg 12:44 pm
22 Jan 17
#

TuggLife said :

the parking app never seems to work for me.

Had another thought on this.
A problem I have with the Parkmobile app is it’s access to the internet.
When my iPhone locks onto the free WiFi networks around town such as CBRfree, Telstra Air, and at the Belconnen Markets, Bunnings Free Wifi, it seems the app (and some others I have) just won’t connect. When I turn off the phone’s WiFi and revert to cellular data all is ok.

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6
Ian 11:08 pm
22 Jan 17
#

nealg said :

TuggLife said :

Inexplicably, the parking app never seems to work for me.

If you are referring to Parkmobile and are using it on an iPhone (Android is similar), make sure you have the app set to be able to be used with cellular data. This is a toggle ‘switch’ in Settings/Mobile (swipe up to find Parkmobile’s switch).
Other than that it may be a registration/setup issue between you and the company.

One issue I have with the new parking meters is the difference between the ACT Government’s meters and NCAs. The NCA ones do not work with the app. A stupid example is the meters at the National Film and Sound Archive are NCA but just across the road in front of the Acadamy of Science they are ACT Gov ones.
Similarly you cannot use the app with the meters anywhere in the Parliamentary Triangle.
Surely an agreement could be set up between the two bodies where one type of meter is installed in the ACT and any funds raised in the Triangle goes to the NCA.
Or am I asking for too much……………..

You would have thought the NCA could have subcontracted out its parking meter operations to the ACT Government. But I guess that’s too easy.

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7
Chris Mordd Richards 8:27 am
23 Jan 17
#

Maya123 said :

As for an app, there are still many of us who don’t have this option, because we try to limit our expenses.

How is using the not limiting your expenses? The app is free to use, you pay the same rate via the app or the machine, it’s just another payment method, no more expensive, and no cheaper, just different. Your comment makes no sense to me.

I have had the CC payment on the machine not work too occaisonally, the app always works for me every time though, and allows me to pay as I walk to where I am going instead of waiting around for the machine.

nealg said :

If you are referring to Parkmobile and are using it on an iPhone (Android is similar), make sure you have the app set to be able to be used with cellular data. This is a toggle ‘switch’ in Settings/Mobile (swipe up to find Parkmobile’s switch).
Other than that it may be a registration/setup issue between you and the company.

One issue I have with the new parking meters is the difference between the ACT Government’s meters and NCAs. The NCA ones do not work with the app. A stupid example is the meters at the National Film and Sound Archive are NCA but just across the road in front of the Acadamy of Science they are ACT Gov ones.
Similarly you cannot use the app with the meters anywhere in the Parliamentary Triangle.
Surely an agreement could be set up between the two bodies where one type of meter is installed in the ACT and any funds raised in the Triangle goes to the NCA.
Or am I asking for too much……………..

This is not just an issue with the Parkmobile app, I have had the same problem with Uber app, Facebook app (refusing to stream live because the wifi signal is low even though the mobile signal is strong and I am happy to use mobile data) and other apps as well. It is an issue inherent with apps in general and switching between different wifi networks regularly. I understand android 7 handles this a lot better than previous versions, it’s something in a few years will have been sovled through better software implementation, meanwhile turning off wifi for a moment to make it work and back on is a tad annoying, but not hard that time consuming either.

The issue with the different machines in the Parliamentary Triangle is a problem though as you point out, hopefully one that will be addressed soon by adding ParkMobile support to those machines. Also, how much longer do we need a different app just for Manuka?

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8
Maya123 9:46 am
23 Jan 17
#

Chris Mordd Richards said :

Maya123 said :

As for an app, there are still many of us who don’t have this option, because we try to limit our expenses.

How is using the not limiting your expenses? The app is free to use, you pay the same rate via the app or the machine, it’s just another payment method, no more expensive, and no cheaper, just different. Your comment makes no sense to me.

I have had the CC payment on the machine not work too occaisonally, the app always works for me every time though, and allows me to pay as I walk to where I am going instead of waiting around for the machine.

nealg said :

If you are referring to Parkmobile and are using it on an iPhone (Android is similar), make sure you have the app set to be able to be used with cellular data. This is a toggle ‘switch’ in Settings/Mobile (swipe up to find Parkmobile’s switch).
Other than that it may be a registration/setup issue between you and the company.

One issue I have with the new parking meters is the difference between the ACT Government’s meters and NCAs. The NCA ones do not work with the app. A stupid example is the meters at the National Film and Sound Archive are NCA but just across the road in front of the Acadamy of Science they are ACT Gov ones.
Similarly you cannot use the app with the meters anywhere in the Parliamentary Triangle.
Surely an agreement could be set up between the two bodies where one type of meter is installed in the ACT and any funds raised in the Triangle goes to the NCA.
Or am I asking for too much……………..

This is not just an issue with the Parkmobile app, I have had the same problem with Uber app, Facebook app (refusing to stream live because the wifi signal is low even though the mobile signal is strong and I am happy to use mobile data) and other apps as well. It is an issue inherent with apps in general and switching between different wifi networks regularly. I understand android 7 handles this a lot better than previous versions, it’s something in a few years will have been sovled through better software implementation, meanwhile turning off wifi for a moment to make it work and back on is a tad annoying, but not hard that time consuming either.

The issue with the different machines in the Parliamentary Triangle is a problem though as you point out, hopefully one that will be addressed soon by adding ParkMobile support to those machines. Also, how much longer do we need a different app just for Manuka?

I don’t have more than phone calls and text messages activated on my phone. It is my understanding that to use an app I must have internet and browsing connected. I don’t, as this is a higher monthly fee. I have one app on my phone that I occasional use, but I can only use it where I can get wifi. Maybe the monthly fee is cheaper now and I should recheck, but last time I looked it was several times what I pay now for phone calls and text messages to be able to browse the internet.

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9
Chris Mordd Richards 3:13 pm
23 Jan 17
#

Maya123 said :

I don’t have more than phone calls and text messages activated on my phone. It is my understanding that to use an app I must have internet and browsing connected. I don’t, as this is a higher monthly fee. I have one app on my phone that I occasional use, but I can only use it where I can get wifi. Maybe the monthly fee is cheaper now and I should recheck, but last time I looked it was several times what I pay now for phone calls and text messages to be able to browse the internet.

Ok maybe I can help a bit then.

1. Apps are free, download on Wifi if you don’t have mobile data. The majority of places you will need to use the parking app, will have Canberra free wifi and you *should* be able to use it via that where it is available without needing mobile data on your phone at all. There may be some places with no free wifi though, I do not know the entire network of all the parking machines.

2. I actually wasn’t aware that you could still get a mobile plan with absolutely no mobile data, I thought they had all been phased out years ago. Do you mind if I ask which network provider that is through, and if it is on pre-paid or a contract?

3. You are correct though that if you do not have mobile data enabled, then you cannot use the app without a wifi connection. Although plenty of mobile apps can be used without mobile data, once originally downloaded (using wifi for example), the ones that involve communicating with a remote server, like to confirm your payment for parking, do need either mobile data or wifi to work yes.

4. There are a lot of pre-paid and contract plans with good call value and anywhere from 1GB or more monthly data, depending on if you want to be on the 3G network or 4G network, 4G is much faster for data, but data is more expensive because of that then. If you don’t need super fast data connection, which it sounds like you don’t, opt for a 3G only plan and you will get more data for less money overall. Although I recently moved to an Optus Business contract for my phone (and got a new phone with it), I was on Aldi Mobile prepaid for a few years before that. It is still one of the best value pre-paid services currently and has quite generous included data amounts. It works with any phone that works with a Telstra sim, but not a phone locked to a network other than Telstra. Locked phones are only super common in the very cheap range these days and becoming less common over time, so this may or may not be a factor for you. If you aren’t sure contacting your network provider you bought the phone through will tell you, or if you know what network your current provider uses already, eg. Telstra or Optus.

Let me know if you want any more free advice on changing plans or phones, feel free to email me on editor@mordd-indymedia.com alternately too.

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