A week ago, I received a fine for parking my car in a spot without putting a ticket on my dashboard. Why didn’t I pay for the ticket? Well, the parking ticket machine wasn’t working, so I couldn’t get a ticket from it. Since I was going for a quick lunch I decided to chance it. After all, I was only going to be 20 minutes. Turns out, that was enough time for a cop to issue me a fine. I paid off the fine yesterday, so I’m in the clear.
Today, I parked my car again in a public parking spot. Guess what? Another broken ticket machine. Didn’t feel like picking up another fine so I purchased a set of parking coupons. Paying for parking is not an issue to me. I believe in paying for convenience – like using tolls and not having to park 10 streets away just to hike to your destination. But when the process of paying for parking is such a hassle, that’s when I get annoyed.
We’ve got Touch and Go. We’ve got credit cards. We’ve got smartphones. Why do we still have to scratch pieces of paper (a few if you plan to park for longer than an hour) just to park our cars? If you want to charge for parking, the least you could do is keep those machines maintained. Or let us leave money under our windshield wipers for the cops to collect. How about billing us directly? After all everybody has an e-wallet tied to their MyKad and all car license plates can be traced to an owner.
In the UK, they use cameras to capture your car plate number when you drive into the city. When you’ve arrived at your destination, you can just login and pay the charge within two days. No fuss, everybody wins. Also, you don’t have to carry bags of change around with you. Why haven’t we come up with a proper parking system yet?
And I know, this issue isn’t just in Malaysia alone – a few years ago when I was in Singapore, I had to do the same thing when I left my car parked for a day. And man, it cost a fortune. Also, a lot of time was spent poking holes in the parking tickets and making sure they fit properly on my dashboard.
We’ve already made advancements in malls, most of them allow you to pay with Touch and Go now. It’s 2017, I think we should have the same for outdoor parking spaces. At the same time, maybe revamp our toll systems. Or make Smart TAG batteries last longer (I’ve seen way too many people getting stuck in Smart TAG lanes on the morning drive to work, I use the Touch and Go lane – no battery problems). The technology is available, we just need to embrace it.