This morning as is my wont, I was doom scrolling through twitter when I came across this tweet.
So the story is this.
Brisbane Council, in an effort to modernise their street parking management has brought in a technology which allows parking officers to drive down the street taking photos of the cars parked and matching that against the information from the parking stations. If the car doesn’t match up with a valid parking period, then a fine is issued.
Now, if you have a disability sticker, then under Brisbane Council parking rules you are allowed to park for free in all metered parking AND you’re allowed unlimited time in timed parking areas.
All well and good. Except, people with disability stickers started getting fines delivered. Despite the fact they were displaying the stickers.
It turns out that the new system hadn’t taken into account the fact that you can put the sticker anywhere on the car. Instead it appears that there had been an assumption that the sticker would always be in an area visible to the camera (generally the right hand side of the wind screen).
In the past, Parking Officers were able to check for the presence of the sticker, whether it was on the right or left of the windscreen, lying down on the dashboard or some other visible area. Once they saw that, then they were able to go on their merry way.
What this has meant is that in the period between January and June this year, at least 173 fines have been issued when they shouldn’t have. We know that much because that’s the amount of fines that have been waived when PWD have contacted council with their proof of holding a disability sticker. I have to think that there would be more fines out there that have either just been paid or possibly ignored.
I would love to know if any People With Disabilities were involved in developing or at least testing the new system. Hell I’d love to know if there were any comparisons done on false positives from the new system versus the old.
Look I know we’re edge cases, but we’re a known edge case. There are entire organisations out there that would be more than happy to help you test your systems to make sure that you don’t accidentally fall into situations like this. Use them.