Brave Dave Crampton

Once again it took the actions of a determined individual to expose the shameful nature of the city council’s parking policies. 181 tickets worth $10 000 have been waived after one motorist, Dave Crampton, incorrectly received a ticket for parking in a clearway, and wouldn’t just lie down and take it. 


The council’s policy is not to ticket a car within six minutes of the beginning or the end of a limit on a clearway. That’s generous, but it’s not the point.  He complained that his ticket was issued in the six minute window and therefore he shouldn’t have to pay.


The issuing of the ticket violated the council’s own policies, but a big fat no was the council’s response. So even though it was in the wrong the council wouldn’t make good. How fair is that?


However the real problem arose when Mr Crampton asked under the Official Information Act how many other tickets had also been issued improperly. The answer was 181, and the value of those fines is about $10 000.


Now the council had a big problem, and once again it was the notorious spy cam car that was involved. How embarrassing that yet again the council cannot get its contractors and their staff to follow the council’s policies.


But really how surprising is this?  The contractors have incentives to issue as many tickets as possible to make as much money for the council as possible. How? Because the contractor gets a share of each and every ticket which is successfully issued. (Just how much is their share of each fine is a closely guarded secret - even from our elected councillors.


No wonder the parking wardens behave like rapacious hyenas. No wonder they use the spy cam cars to prowl about secretly taking photos of people stopped here and there. Stop, click, ticket, is the mantra.


The council has cancelled Mr Crampton’s fine, and of course they are all apologetic and sorry about their “stuff up”. How convenient. How insincere. Instead of apologising, why don’t they enforce their own rules with their contractors and fine them if they break them?


Here’s the crunch question: if Mr Crampton had not asked how many other people had been wrongly ticketed, would the council have discovered the widespread error, and would it have acted to refund or waive their fines? Unlikely, I’d say.


It is only due to the actions of brave individuals like Dave Crampton that the systematic errors of the system were revealed. If it had not been for Mr Crampton, 180 other motorists would have been left with a bill that they didn’t deserve. Many would have paid rather than fight it, just to make the problem go away.


This is a parking system that is out of control, and it is time that our elected councillors did something about this? We wait for their response with interest.