Right Driver

Parking grace period called for – perhaps the UK can learn from Auckland?

parking signCurrently if you overstay your parking by any time at all you can be fined. This contributes to a deep-rooted public perception that parking enforcement is just a good way of making money by local authorities, and doesn’t take into consideration that people may be unexpectedly delayed for reasons outside their control. It also doesn’t allow for disparities in the times on people’s watches.

A number of MPs serving on the Commons Transport Committee have suggested a ‘grace and favour’ period of five minutes after a parking ticket expires before a fine is issued.

Perhaps authorities can learn from parking rules introduced in Auckland, New Zealand in October 2012. After receiving 718 public submissions on parking in the central city, Auckland Council made significant changes, including reducing the maximum charge for a day’s parking. While private car park operators give grace periods of between 5 and 15 minutes before fining motorists up to $65 (around £33), if drivers are parked on city streets they are given a 10-minute grace period and after that, fines can be as low as NZ$12 (£6). Sounds like parking utopia, right?

Here are Auckland Council’s published prices for overstaying parking on the city’s streets. Divide by two to get the rough amount in pounds sterling:

  • Person parked a vehicle on a road where the maximum time a vehicle may park there was restricted by a traffic sign.
  • Overstaying infringements are subject to incremental fines as follows:
    • Not more than 30 minutes – $12.
    • More than 30 minutes but not more than 1 hour – $15.
    • More than 1 hour but not more than 2 hours – $21.
    • More than 2 hours but not more than 4 hours – $30.
    • More than 4 hours but not more than 6 hours – $42.
    • More than 6 hours – $57.

Current parking fines in London are £130, and £70 elsewhere in the UK. The MPs also called for ministers to freeze parking fines at these rates. The Local Government Association has calculated a surplus from on and off-street parking of £411 million in 2011/12, while the RAC Foundation believes the figure could be £565 million.

Does anyone else think these figures seem obscene?

Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.

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