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Commuters angry over wait for 'smart' parking fee machines

The days of lugging around spare change are far from over for Canberra commuters with the ACT Government revealing its promised smart parking machines are at least 12 months away.

As motorists prepare for parking fee increases of as much as 12 per cent from January, the government has said its promise to install machines that accept notes and cards will not happen until 2014.

Commuters have reacted angrily to the 12-month wait, describing it as “ridiculous” and “absurd”.

From January 2 the fee for an all-day space in Civic will rise to $13.50 and a short stay four-hour space will cost $12.50, with drivers still expected to carry the exact amount of change.

The ACT Government announced $300,000 before its June budget to install new machines, with a preference for smart parking technology that would allow drivers to pay by cash, card, or their mobile phones.

Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr said on Thursday the government would take advice on “the scope of the project in 2013 with a view to implementing it in 2014”.


The Canberra Liberals also went to the October election with a promise to install more convenient parking machines.

Commuter Skye Stranger said she often parked her car 20 minutes from her Civic office to avoid high parking fees.

She said the increase was “absurd” and made more difficult by the 12 month wait for new machines.

“The fact we have to carry a huge chunk of coins in our wallet is ridiculous, it doesn’t make sense,” she said.

“I normally have to make a dash to the Civic Centre to get change.

“And why $13.50?

“It’s a really odd amount.”

Miss Stranger said Canberra’s bus network also was not reliable enough for her trip into the city every day from Spence.

Public servant Jane Hardy, who parks in Civic daily, said she went to her bank to get $200 in coins at a time to cover parking charges.

“It makes it incredibly difficult for daily commuters,” she said.

James Felix, who is visiting Canberra from Townsville, said he had driven to a carwash for change after realising the machines did not accept notes or cards.

“I’m here on a course and I find it ludicrous that they don’t take notes or cards.”

Weston Creek resident Mel Sutherland said catching public transport to her job in the city was not an option for her.

“It would take me an hour and a half on the bus and I have to drop my kids at school,” she said.

“$135 a fortnight is a big hit for the family budget.

“Every fortnight I have to go to CarLovers to get the change – it’s not acceptable.”


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