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Wellington’s Digital Parking Solution

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As the capital city gears up for a tech-forward start to the new year of 2024, Wellington City Council has announced the deployment of 400 innovative Pay by Plate parking machines across Central Wellington, Kelburn, and the vicinity of the Botanic Gardens ki Paekākā. This digital overhaul, set to go live on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, aims to streamline the parking experience for residents and visitors alike.

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Parking, a task that traditionally required manual payment at designated metres, has often been associated with stress and irritation. The outdated systems, with their reliance on physical coins and complex processes, contributed to the frustration experienced by drivers navigating the city’s streets.

However, with the introduction of the Pay by Plate system, Wellington aims to revolutionise this aspect of urban living, offering a more streamlined and user-friendly solution to alleviate the stress associated with parking.

The Pay by Plate system eliminates the need for drivers to hunt for spare change or decipher complex instructions. Breaking away from traditional numbered car park systems, the Pay by Plate initiative employs a paperless approach, utilising vehicle plate numbers for both recording parking duration and facilitating payments. This modernised parking system is poised to bring efficiency and convenience to the bustling urban landscape.

While the shift to Pay by Plate marks a significant change, parking rates will remain consistent, ranging from NZ$3 to NZ$5 per hour on weekdays, depending on the location, and a flat NZ$3 per hour on weekends.

To ensure a smooth transition for users, the council provides essential tips for navigating the new Pay by Plate metres. The 400 machines are divided into two types: 260 are card-only, and 140 accept both cash and cards. Recognisable by their black and yellow rectangular design, coin/card metres sit on the ground, while card-only metres are mounted on poles.

Users are encouraged to take note of their Parking Area, clearly indicated on the side of each meter (e.g., W01), disregarding the older curbside numbers, which will be phased out. An active parking session can be used across various parking spaces within the same area until expiration. If locations are changed within Wellington, a new payment is required.

For added convenience, patrons can use the app, available on smartphone applications. By entering the Parking Area number, users can effortlessly record their location and make payments seamlessly.

Emphasising inclusivity, all mobility parks are equipped with nearby metres designed for easy access by wheelchair users. The metres’ signage and on-screen displays adhere to accessibility guidelines, featuring high contrast, large print, and plain language. Moreover, the system offers on-screen instructions in both English and Te Reo Māori, aligning with the council’s commitment to fostering a bilingual city.

By addressing environmental concerns, the obsolete parking metres will undergo a sustainable disposal process. Electronic components and solar panels will be salvaged for reuse, while any remaining serviceable spare parts will be repurposed. Batteries will either be reused or safely disposed of, and the metre shells will be recycled through a local scrap metal facility.

The implementation of these metres was budgeted through the Long-Term Plan in 2021, underscoring the city’s commitment to modernisation and improved urban services. As Wellington embraces this digital transformation, residents and visitors can anticipate a more efficient and user-friendly parking experience in the heart of the city.

As cities become more connected, parking systems will leverage real-time data and advanced sensors to provide users with dynamic information about parking availability, pricing, and optimal routes. Drivers will be able to access this information through smart apps that not only guide them to available parking spaces but also facilitate instant payments and reservations.


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