The most violated parking spot in Melbourne sits on a grimy stretch of Spencer Street outside a discount shoe shop.
The signs on the three-car parking bay warn motorists dropping off goods and passengers that they should linger no more than five minutes.
But every year almost 8000 people do exactly that. Sometimes they do not come back for hours on end.
One of the three parking bays is the CBD’s most overstayed spot, racking up almost 4000 violations a year, including one from a car that was parked there for more than 16 hours.
On average, those who ignored the signs for that space did not come back for more than 25 minutes.
Fairfax Media spent time watching motorists along the strip of Spencer Street on Monday morning and saw more than a dozen people park illegally.
A driverless white Commodore was parked in one of the three spots from 9am until at least 4.45pm, just before this article was published. Before midday a man left his red Peugeot for 45 minutes in one of the bays.
There was no parking fine awaiting the driver on his return, but there was a news crew.
“I knew it’s for five minutes,” he admitted, saying he did not expect to take so long away from his car. “It’s my mistake.”
Across the municipality of Melbourne there were almost 1.7 million parking violations in the year to September 2012, City of Melbourne parking data shows.
The council’s sensors found one in seven people who park in the city flouted the rules, overstaying time limits or abandoning their cars in no-parking zones.
About 4600 council parking bays in the city are fitted with sensors, which keep track of how long cars spend in spaces and relay messages to parking inspectors if people overstay their welcome.
A council spokesman said 385,389 parking fines were issued in the 2011-12 financial year, with fines ranging from $72 to $144.