Parking enforcement, or the general lack of it in many parts of the city, has been a major issue for many years now. While I’m sure AT will be the first to say that enforcement is not intended as a revenue gathering source, in some places the lack of enforcement also impacts on how much parking revenue they collect as people have worked out it is often cheaper to get a parking fine once every few weeks rather than pay normal parking fees every day.
Increasing enforcement action is obviously needed but one aspect that is clearly in need of an update is parking fine amounts themselves.
The maximum fines allowed are defined in legislation and so outdated are they that they’ve been unchanged for nearly a quarter of a century.
They’re defined in the Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999 which came into effect on 3 May 1999 – I’m not sure if they were defined in legislation before 1999 so it is possibly they’re even older.
A few things about this stick out to me.
- I don’t know what the mix of parking fines is but I imagine most are probably at the lower end. At those rates, with both staff costs and other costs associated with collection it probably ends up costing AT more than they collect, or at least be marginal.
- Because infringements are set at a national level, it means the fine for bad parking in the city centre, the most valuable land in the country, is the same as it is for parking in any small town across the country even though the impacts of those two are quite different.
- If fines had kept pace with inflation, they would be around 80% higher than they are today, something like this:
To put that in perspective another way, if AT’s parking enforcement revenue was 80% higher they would have collected an extra $30-35 million and that would make quite a significant contribution to the council’s recent budget discussion.
Of course, you can just imagine the media headlines if the government were to propose putting up fines by 80%. However, even at an 80% increase, these parking fines are low when you consider that the fine for fare evasion on public transport is $150 while some of the parking issues can cause real safety issues. As a quick comparison I looked at a few places over in Australia to see how we compare
- In New South Wales fines start at A$117 ($129) and for some offences can go as high as A$704 ($774) and in some cases also result in demerit points. For example, parking within 10m of an intersection or on/near a pedestrian crossing would result in a A$352 ($387) fine and 2 demerit points.
- Victoria’s fines range from A$92 to A$185.
- In Brisbane fines range from A$71 up to A$575. Again using the example of parking to close to an intersection or pedestrian crossing the fine in Brisbane would be A$287.
It’s time for the governments to update parking fines.