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Fed up taxi drivers behind council's 8pm parking ticket blitz, as night patrols become permanent

September 1, 2023

By Peter Holmes

Orange City Council has responded to The Orange News Examiner's story about drivers being ticketed around Robertson Park in the CBD last Wednesday night, saying taxi drivers had urged council to do something.

We reported the stories of two people who were booked around 8pm, resulting in fines of nearly $500.

The front section of the rank. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

One, who was late for a forum at Hotel Canobolas, had mistakenly parked in the second section of the Lords Place taxi rank, which has different parking restrictions to the first section of the rank. According to council, they weren't the only ones in the rank booked.

The other - off to pipe band rehearsals - had made a losing bet on parking in a bus zone on McNamara Street.

"The parking fines that were imposed on Wednesday evening for parking in the taxi rank in Lords Place came after more than 12 months of community engagement," said a council spokesperson.

The council flyer. The image above is from the main area of the rank, whereas the area in question is further to the left.

"Orange Taxis drivers have voiced their concerns to council over many months about drivers who park at night at the end of the rank."

Taxi drivers are worried that taxis queueing for fares "have to park out into the traffic lane, obstructing traffic", the spokesperson said.

"Since April last year, council has undertaken a series of measures to engage with the community to urge drivers not to park in the rank at night.

"Council has printed leaflets for taxi drivers to put on the windscreens of cars parked on the rank. The leaflets made it clear that while cars can park in that area during the day, after 6pm it becomes part of the rank."

Taxi driver representative Darryl Curran told The Orange News Examiner that drivers had made "lots and lots and lots of complaints" to council about people parking in the second half of the rank in the evening.

"I think it's about education," he said. "People park there and go to the Canobolas, the Parkview, the Royal, and they don't look at the signs. I don't think they're doing it out of spite. But that's their responsibility."

He said that although the second half of the rank was sometimes empty at night as drivers carried out jobs, it could quickly become required.

He said taxi drivers weren't able to stop and wait for fares anywhere else around Robertson Park. "We've got to park in a rank, it's against the law not to."

When council had used an electronic message board to advise people not to park, Curran said people obliged, but when the message board was removed, driver behaviour changed.

"I don't have the answer, because you can't keep one of those boards there all the time," he said.

"If you rule with an iron fist then eventually people will get the message that they've got a responsibility (to know) where they're parking."

Addressing the issue of the bus zone on the other side of Robertson Park being monitored at 8pm on a Wednesday, the spokesperson said: "During to a recent roster change, council’s parking officers are now available on a number of nights each week to monitor and issue infringement notices in areas of concern."

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