Brisbane City Council is urgently investigating its mobile parking infringement technology after incorrectly issuing dozens of fines to drivers with disability permits.
- Brisbane City Council is urgently reconfiguring its mobile parking technology
- A flaw in the system has led to drivers with valid disability parking permits being fined
- More than 170 drivers with disability permits have had fines waived between January and June
Eagleby resident Ken, who asked for his surname to be withheld, told ABC Radio Brisbane that his wife typically parked in South Bank once or twice a week for work and used a standard parking bay with her disability permit.
An Australian disability parking permit allows drivers to park for free in on-street metered parking bays, and for an unlimited time in bays with limits of more than 30 minutes.
After months of parking without an issue in a normal parking bay, Ken said his wife began receiving numerous parking fines — sometimes two or three on the same day.
"Recently we started noticing that these fines were appearing, and we went through and went, 'No, she's entitled to park for free because she has the disabled parking exemption,'" he said.
The fines were waived when the couple contacted the council with proof of their permit, but Ken said "they just kept coming".
Wrong side of the road
Council parking officers walking down a footpath can see a disability parking permit in the lower left-hand side of a windscreen and will not issue a fine.
But the council has begun using mobile technology that involves officers driving down the road and taking photos of parked vehicles.
The photos, taken from the road, do not show disability permits on the left-hand side of the windscreen.
Infringement notices issued by Brisbane City Council, seen by ABC Radio Brisbane, include photos of vehicles taken from the road, not the footpath.
The council's city standards chair, Kim Marx, said the council had waived 173 fines for people with a valid disability permit between January and June this year.
"We have recently become aware of an issue with our mobile technology and I can confirm the issue has been investigated and is urgently being resolved," she said.
"We are now urgently reconfiguring the cameras to allow for additional angles and better zooming in, which will ensure any disability permits on a vehicle can be clearly seen so no infringement is issued."
Solution sought for database
Another young woman with a disability parking permit was fined twice while legally parked, causing her parents to have to call and send through proof of the parking permit.
"Multiple phone calls, time spent on hold, photos, emails, stress as weeks pass … all a huge and unnecessary impost on our already squeezed time, especially considering our caring needs for our daughter with a disability," her mother said.
Ms Marx said she urged anyone who had concerns about a parking fine to contact the council immediately.
"We are also working to find a solution to make sure vehicles linked to valid permits are recognised in our database and not incorrectly issued with infringements going forward," she said.
Inclusion advocate Geoff Trappett said people with permits were occasionally fined incorrectly and it was important operational procedures did not unfairly target people with a disability.