THE free ride is almost over for motorists who overstay their welcome in the Bathurst CBD.
After more than 12 months of showing some leniency towards drivers who had parked too long in timed spaces, Bathurst Regional Council rangers are set to again start issuing tickets instead of official cautions.
Mayor Bobby Bourke said council had instructed rangers back in March 2020 to take an "educative approach" to parking enforcement as a way of supporting local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The focus of enforcement activities was on issues that represented a genuine safety risk such as parking in no stopping zones and use of disabled parking space without authorisation that have received penalty infringement notices (PINs)," Cr Bourke said.
And fines figures from the NSW Office of State Revenue clearly demonstrate the impact of the policy change.
In the 12 months from April 2019 to March 2020, before council began issuing cautions instead of fines, rangers wrote a total of 2827 parking fines, pumping $484,581 into the council coffers.
In the 11 months from April 2020 to February 2021, however, those figures nosedived to just 279 fines worth a total of $94,382 as rangers instead issued thousands of cautions to drivers for parking infringements.
But the good times are about to come to an end for drivers who park too long on CBD streets and in council-monitored car parks.
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Cr Bourke said rangers would be asked to again start issuing fines for all infringements to ensure parking was available for all CBD visitors.
"Council rangers will escalate enforcement practice to ensure fair and equitable access to parking for all members of the community," Cr Bourke said.
"This will include restrictions in school zones, bus zones, no parking areas and time restrictions in the car parks."
Cr Bourke said the return to issuing fines instead of cautions for parking infringements around the CBD would be rolled out "over a number of weeks".
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