Australia Brisbane parking meters to be permanently cashless
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Parking meters in Brisbane will be permanently cashless from February 22 with the council adopting a ban enacted temporarily last year during the pandemic lockdown.
At Tuesday's council meeting, infrastructure committee chairman David McLachlan said the council made all 960 parking meters contactless, accepting only card or app-based payments, during the lockdown in March last year.
Cash payments returned briefly after the lockdown, but Cr McLachlan said only a small number of cash payments were made with most drivers opting to pay by card or through an app.
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"We will be the first state in Australia to use cashless payment only for parking and it is a sign of how we are working to quickly adapt to a new normal post coronavirus," he said.
"Not only are cashless payments great from a hygiene purpose, but they also significantly reduce the maintenance costs for our meters by hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, which is a great outcome for ratepayers."
Cash payments in decline
Cr McLachlan said cash payments had already been in decline pre-COVID and had dropped further after the pandemic.
"Even without the COVID-19 overlay, coin usage has been in steady decline since 2017 with usage falling from 22 per cent to 11 per cent pre-COVID, down to 6 per cent at the most recent count since we got back to almost-normal," he said.
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Opposition Leader Jared Cassidy, however, said the decision to scrap cash payments had not been properly considered.
"Elderly people, low income earners, those fleeing domestic violence who don't want to leave a trace of payment, and many other Brisbane residents may have no option but to use cash," Cr Cassidy said.
"This move makes parking for them much more difficult or impossible."
Independent councillor Nicole Johnston said the council removing "a legal and necessary payment method" would catch people unawares.
"I suspect fines will go up causing unnecessary financial pain because of the LNP's unilateral decision to kill off cash," Cr Johnston said.
Greens councillor Jonathan Sri also expressed concern the move would disadvantage older people and made it harder for people to retain privacy over their spending.
Parking change from February 22
Cr McLachlan said by using the Cellopark parking app, supported by the council, residents would only have to pay for the time they used rather than set time slots, with no card surcharge.
Signs will be posted across the city's parking meters from Wednesday alerting residents to the permanent switch.
Fifteen-minute free parking will still be available at all metered car parking spaces.
The council is also planning to provide digital receipts later this year.
Parking for up to three hours in Brisbane's CBD is $5.20 for a car during weekdays and $3.30 in the city fringe.
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