CAPTION: Tracey Slingsby inspects one of the parking meters at Nelson Bay marina. Picture: Charles EliasBUSINESSES along the Nelson Bay marina and adjoining CBD could be missing out on trade due to faulty parking meters.
With thousands of visitors flocking to the Bay for the spring school holidays, business and tourist operators say they cannot afford any more loss of trade.
A recent inspection by Port Stephens Council found that a number of machines appeared to be affected by vandalism, with coins and other objects jammed in the coin and credit card slots.
“These issues have been rectified,” said assets section manager John Maretich.
“The council contracts an external company to maintain and manage the parking meters, and the council staff manually check the function of the meters at regular times during the year.”
Tracey Slingsby, on a recent visit to her parent’s Shoal Bay home from Bendigo in Victoria, said she had to try four different parking meters in the carpark and not one would accept her coins.
“They would spit my coins back out or ask for a credit card payment. I rang the number provided on the meter and was told to contact the council which I did, but they told me to contact the company,” Ms Slingsby said.
“What about those people who don’t have credit cards, or those who don’t carry mobile phones?”
Kerry Jefferson and Karen Lee, who work at Pizazz Boutique on the marina, said they regularly had motorists complaining to them about faulty meters.
“The complaints seem to come and go … the most common are coins being spat out or worse the tickets are withheld,” Ms Lee said.
“We just tell them to write a note and leave it on their dashboard to avoid getting booked.”
Staff at the nearby Corner Secrets store said they had often had customers tell them they had to try three or four different machines because they feared getting booked.
Mr Maretich said of the 25 parking meters available at the marina car park, 17 were cash only and eight accepted cash or card.
“Credit card machines operate for the convenience of drivers and to avoid coin machines reaching capacity,” Mr Maretich said.
“Parking meters are used to promote greater turnover of vehicles in what is a highly sought after location.”
The council encourages anyone who experiences an issue with the parking meters in Nelson Bay to report the problem by phoning [maintenance company Auto Inspect] 1300 373 077.
Auto Inspect would not return messages from the Examiner.
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