I know, I know. Parking metres aren’t strictly speaking a “driving” matter, unless of course you’re driving around like an idiot looking for one.

They say space is limited. They say it’s a way to share the space and to stop people from parking there all day. They say it’s not about revenue raising.

Sadly that’s all nonsense. If it wasn’t about raising revenue, parking would be free and the space would be timed. No, parking metres are nothing more than another tax. In cities where public transport is a joke, and let’s face it, that’s every Australian capital, you have no choice.

Petrol prices have driven hoards of price sensitive commuters onto the hot sweaty, overcrowded and over priced public transport system, and still the roads are jammed. Then where you get where you’re going, you can’t get a park. There isn’t a metre to be had. If you do manage to jag a spot, the ticket machine is half way up the road and invariably you don’t have change. Use your card right? Easier said than done. You swipe and swipe and swipe and all you get is RSI. The bloody thing won’t read your near-new card. You see the number to ring on the instruction panel.

Surprise surprise, they can’t help you. “Wait until the man comes round and ask him” they say. Yes because we all have a few hours to spare watching the car that is meant to be a convenience. Or worse still, the machine takes you change, or card, then doesn’t print out so you ring the number again. Guess what, they can’t help you again. “Wait for the man to come round and get him to look at the machine for you”. Fat lot of help that is. The man does come by eventually, but your lunch date has done the bolt by then. The little man from the village find a wad of screwed up paper in the mouth of the machine. Rather than disgorge confirmation that you have paid 4 times, it neatly pleats the paper in a big mess inside. Because you think the machine hasn’t read your card, and you have tried 4 times to get a ticket, you realise the machine has read your card 4 times after all. Oh dear!

You ring the number again, and, you’ve guessed it, they can’t help you because it hasn’t come up on the computer yet. You spend the next few days chasing the $48 because the City of Sydney charges like a wounded bull and 2 hours at the roadside will cost you 12 big ones. That’s 3 drinks at happy hour! After a week of ginning around and carrying on like a pork chop, you finally get a refund but it has taken years off your life and given you an ulcer.

At Bondi you’ll often find the orifices of the machines filled with glue. It seems the locals aren’t happy with council revenue raising either. “It would be OK if they spent the money on us and not on themselves”, said one angry bystander.”Never mind mate”, I said” you could live in the city like I do where there is bugger all parking of any kind”.

There is no excuse for them beyond money in the pockets of local authorities.

Like speed cameras, it is a rip-off.