We need to serve the technology with the new pay-by-plate meters

We need to change our habits slightly with the new pay-by-plate meters in Wellington City, as I discovered.

If I arrive in town for, say, two 90-minute meetings with, say, 15 minutes between them, what I might do after the first is to move my car. I might also put a bit of extra money in the meter the first time, in case I’m late back to the car to cover me so I don’t get ticketed.

Here’s the situation:
Arrive at 10 a.m.
Pay till 11.45 a.m. just in case
Eventually arrive back at the car at 11.40 a.m. since the meeting ran late
Smart thinking, I’ve paid for enough time.

So far so good. I move the car and find a new spot down the street soon after. I think, ‘Great, I have time to walk to see the next lot kanohi ki te kanohi for the meeting.’

Except I can’t. It’s 11.48. The meter insists I can only add 12 minutes to it because it’s a two-hour zone. It doesn’t know I’ve moved the car and can legitimately reset the time for another two hours.

All I could do was sit in the car till noon, apologize to the people I wanted to see, and tell them that I had to Zoom them over the cellphone once I was allowed to put money in the meter at noon.

I’m sure there are “apps” that might have let me pay remotely, but I don’t believe they make these available to people outside of the Apple Ishop (or whatever it’s called) or the Google Store worlds. Granted, we are few in number, but it has always irked me that public (either national government or local government) apps are hosted abroad. Even our COVID-19 tracer was hosted abroad when that really should have been hosted here.

The solutions would be to schedule things in two-hour blocks to accommodate the technology (and I am against the idea that we serve technology when on principle it should serve us) or to use public transport (which is absolutely fine if you’re able).
I must have used these meters about 10 times now. On one occasion, it kept showing the ‘Waiting’ screen for over a minute. These are brand new and already one is on the fritz. Oh, and American Express is not welcome, so they are very much pro-bank.

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