I know, I know – everyone hates parking fines. And I admit, it was probably my fault, for being in such a hurry .. but a fine I got this week has really got up my nose.
Not for the fine itself, as much as for the difficulties in paying it.
On Wednesday night, I went to the inaugural Griffith University Press Club gathering – and it was a great night, lots of networking, some enthusiastic students, plus academics and media professionals.
But because I was still at home when my reminder went off, I didn’t have time to take the bus, as I normally would – so I parked in a darkened street nearby.
Now, what you have to know about Brisbane parking is that the signs (or lack thereof) are an issue. But the ticket vending machine is supposed to tell you what your parking conditions are.
Well, the machine in question was bleeping, and blurping, and generally carrying on – but after about 5 minutes, I finally got it to accept my car’s licence plate number, and the fact that I wanted to pay by coin, not card.
The top line of the readout said something like “4 hour limit until 7PM, $2/hr parking. ”
Which I took to mean that parking after 7PM was free. So, I put in my $2 (see – I was already late!) and that took me to 7:02PM.
But when I got back, there was a ticket.
Turns out there was a second line which said “Parking 7PM-10PM $1/hr”
Which I would have happily paid, if I’d seen it. But no, instead I get an $88 fine. Yah, Boo, Sucks!
But the worst part? When I went to pay it this morning (because If I don’t do it straight away, I’ll probably forget), I’m told “Oh, no, it could be up to 4 days before this fine is entered in the system … so you’ll just have to remember to pay it some time next week!”
Crikey, Brisbane City Council, this is a remarkably inefficient system!
If the ticket vending machines are networked (as they are), and the fines are issued via a hand-held machines (as they are), then why does it take up to 96 freaking hours to get it into the system?
No wonder so many fines are simply not paid (and this in a tourist area, right near the city’s Maritime Museum.)