BATHURST’S new mobile parking enforcement car will hit the streets on Monday, March 3, it has been revealed.
Bathurst Regional Council has confirmed the purchase of a Hyundai Santa Fe that will be fitted out with new licence plate recognition (LPR) technology designed to make it harder for CBD shoppers and business owners to outstay their welcome.
A report to last night’s council meeting says council has also signed a three-year lease with Equitech to provide the LPR equipment at a cost of $44,737 a year.
But the extra ground to be covered each day by council’s parking officers – and the extra fines they expect to write as a result – should see council recoup its investment in no time.
In his report to councillors, environmental planning and building services director David Shaw describes the benefits of the new LPR technology and how it operates.
Mr Shaw said the old system of two parking officers walking the beat and marking car tyres with chalk was open to abuse through people rubbing off the marks, was not effective in wet weather and limited the amount of the CBD that could be monitored each day.
Council also considered the possible adverse health effects of repetitively marking tyres, plus the risk of parking officers being abused as they walked the beat or hit by a moving vehicle.
LPR countered all these problems and worked effectively in wet weather or low light, Mr Shaw said.
“LPR operates via a camera mounted on the left-hand side of the vehicle,” he said. “It takes five photographs of each vehicle and works with both parallel and angle parking.
“It requires two staff to operate – one driver and one system operator. A computer is mounted in the rear of the vehicle which connects via wireless technology to the electronic hand-held devices.
“(Infringement notices) are printed from the hand-held device.”
Council currently employs two full-time parking officers, but will need to employ an extra casual officer to cover for annual leave and other absences.
Council will now embark on a public education program ahead of the launch on March 3, and council’s parking officers will start a week of training in the new technology on February 24.