Digital Life

'Stop giving me parking fines': Parkmobile app user gets $291 of tickets in a week

Canberra's parking inspectors continue to draw the ire of drivers using a new smartphone application, with one going to extraordinary efforts to avoid fines.

Canberra IT worker Matthew Graham has received three parking tickets in the city in the past week, despite paying the $14 daily fee  through the Parkmobile application. 

Introduced this year, the application records the owner's credit card details, number plate and parking location and allows drivers to pay without going to meters or displaying a printed ticket on the dashboard.

Signs on the meters say users of the application do not need to display a printed ticket, but Mr Graham says his experience has been somewhat different.

Frustrated after receiving parking fines totalling $291 in just one week, he placed a printed sign on his dashboard on Wednesday while parked near Constitution Avenue.

"I have paid for parking using the Parkmobile app," the sign said. "Stop giving me parking fines. The sticker on the machine says I do not need to display a ticket."

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The written plea clearly fell flat, as the 28-year-old received another fine for $97 that day. 

"This Parkmobile app has failed and should be suspended until the ACT government fixes their mess," he said. 

"More people would definitely use the application if it worked, but how can people have confidence in it when they are hearing stories like this one?"

Mr Graham said he had  emailed a complaint from his car each time he received a fine, including a screenshot of the application's parking history function showing he had paid for parking.

Inspectors have access to digital logs  while checking cars around Canberra.

"I called Canberra Connect on Wednesday and they said fines are now on hold so at least they have actually acknowledged them," he said.

Mr Graham is yet to receive an official response from the Office of Regulatory Services. 

A $2.25 million deal has led to the introduction of state-of-the-art Duncan MX parking meters around Canberra, allowing users to pay with coins, credit cards or the Parkmobile app. The machines are used in 70 locations around Australia and New Zealand.

Similar problems were reported in April, when the directorate was forced to withdraw fines to drivers who followed instructions but did not display a ticket

In May, drivers complained to officials at the City of Melbourne after receiving fines while using the application. Officials there said very few complaints about the application had been received. 

The ACT government began the rollout of 300 "pay and display" parking machines in March, replacing hundreds of coin-only meters.

The new machines are in the city, Woden, Dickson, Belconnen, Manuka, Kingston and Tuggeranong. 

A spokeswoman for the ACT Justice and Community Safety Directorate said Mr Graham's fine was issued in error.

"The ORS Parking Review Office is undertaking a review into this matter," she said in a statement.

"Parking officers check the electronic records as a matter of standard operating procedure to determine if a Parkmobile session is active.

"If anyone believes that they have received an infringement in error they should contact parking operations on 132 281."

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