Manly's digital parking system was brought in to end the "black market" in residents' free parking permits. But, according to many Manly locals it's awkward, unfair and unnecessary, although the right to four hours free on the oceanfront as from 3rd April, is definitely seen as a bonus.
A new Facebook page "Manly Council Parking - Wrecking our Beach Lifestyle" already has 543 likes, and its authors are busy establishing a committee to persuade the council to ditch the digital system.
The new system, which began in February, requires residents to apply for a permit online by registering their car's licence plates with the council.
Then, whenever they use a metered parking area, such as the bays at Manly ocean beach, they must type their car's licence number and intended length of stay into a meter. They then then print out a parking ticket and display it inside the windscreen.
It's a huge departure from the simplicity of the previous system, when residents got one sticker a year and all they had to do was fix it on the car windscreen.
Complaints on the Facebook page include the sheer inconvenience of the new system, with mothers complaining they now have to join a queue at the parking meter every time they park for 10 minutes to pick up a child from school. Elderly drivers and people with poor near vision say they have trouble using the small keyboard on the parking meters.
Many people are also annoyed that they have to carefully specify how long they will need each time, when the nature of a trip to the beach is that it may expand due to good surfing/swimming conditions or meeting up with friends.
A "Wrecking our Beach Lifestyle" post ridicules the "digital" tag, as in fact, the new system means residents now need to print out a ticket every time they park. "It's really going more manual," the post says.
"Now instead of getting a sticker once a year, a resident could potentially have to get a ticket once a day! Privilege and convenience gone in one fell swoop. And why? I don't see any of the net benefits. A case of fixing something that wasn't broken in the first place."
What has your experience with the new system been?
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor & Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.