Text-to-park system to be rolled out in Wellington

It is just about to get easier to give the Wellington City Council money. From tomorrow Wellingtonians will be able to pay for parking in the CBD by sending a text using a mobile phone.
The council says drivers will pay transaction fees for various aspects of the system, like reminder texts, but this will be "offset by the drop in tickets".

The council has recently proposed a hike in parking fees from $4 to $5 per hour and an extension to the hours when fees apply. The increase would make Wellington's parking the most expensive in New Zealand and dearer than Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane.

The council has signed an agreement with Parking Solutions, a private company, to provide the new mobile phone service, called Phone2Park.

Drivers will need to register on the Phone2Park website, and will then be sent a user ID card which must be fixed to the inside of their windscreen. They must then send a short text message indicating parking time and the zone they are in. Fees will be billed to the driver's account, which must be in credit.

Parking wardens will use a handset to scan user IDs on the inside of windscreens.

The scheme was trialled by 40 drivers in Wellington for four months in late 2005. Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the scheme may mean the council could eventually reduce the number of pay and display machines. 
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