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Parking in the City of Melbourne: Frequently asked questions

Parking payment and restrictions

Parking time

Parking meters

Ticket machines and parking tickets

In-ground sensors

Loading Zones

Parking fines

Parking payment and restrictions

Why do we need parking restrictions?

Demand for on-street parking spaces in the City of Melbourne is extremely high, with more than one million parking transactions recorded every month.

Parking restrictions are in operation to encourage a regular turnover of parking bays, giving residents, workers, businesses and visitors a reasonable chance of finding parking. These restrictions are regularly enforced to ensure the safe and fair use of on-street parking in the municipality.

Without regular patrols the limited number of parking spaces would be occupied continuously by the same vehicles, reducing the amount of parking for others.

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How much does it cost to park in the city?

In the central city (PDF, 515kb) the rate for short-term on-street parking is $5.50 per hour. Half hour parking is rounded down to $2.70. The table below summarises on-street parking rates which are shown on parking meters and ticket machines.

Central city  1 hour space per hour $5.50 
Central city 2 hour space per hour  $5.50 
Central city 3 hour space per hour $5.50 
   
Outside central city 1/2 hour space per 1/2 hour  $1.60 
Outside central city 1 hour space per hour $3.20
Outside central city 2 hour space per hour $3.20
Outside central city 3 hour space per hour $2.00 
Outside central city 4 hour space per hour $1.70 
Outside central city All day per hour  80 cents 
 

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Can I leave my car unattended to get change for the parking meter or ticket machine?

If you wish to use parking areas that require a fee to be paid, you must ensure that you have sufficient coins prior to parking. Cars parked at expired meters or without valid parking tickets are liable to receive a parking fine.

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Can I pay for parking time using my credit card?

Some parking machines provide credit card facilities as an additional option to coins.

It’s a good idea to have coins handy at all times, even if you wish to pay using your credit card. In the absence of a credit card payment option, drivers still have an obligation to pay for parking where alternative forms of payment remain. All parking machines accept coins.

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Can I pay for parking using pay-by-phone?

The PayStay system (pay-by-phone parking) allows drivers to pay for on-street parking using their credit card and a mobile phone. Pay-by-phone parking is now available in the entire City of Melbourne municipality.

Read more about Pay-by-Phone parking.

If using PayStay, remember to check that you have a valid session (for the correct zone and vehicle registration) before leaving your vehicle unattended. If you have difficulty operating the PayStay system, you should pay for your parking time using alternative forms of payment (coins or credit card).

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What are the alternatives to off-street parking?

The City of Melbourne also owns off-street car parks at City Square, Council House and Elgin Street which offer competitive parking rates.

Find more commercial car parks operating within the City of Melbourne.

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Parking time

How long can I park in a parking bay?

The time you can legally occupy a parking bay is shown on the parking sign and starts as soon as your car stops in the bay. For example, you may park for no longer than one hour in a 1P signed area.

This requirement applies in all Australian states.

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When does my parking time start?

Your parking time starts as soon as your car stops in the bay, whether or not you remain in the vehicle (for example, if you elect to finish a phone call before paying for parking and leaving your car).

Your parking time does not start or re-start when you buy a parking ticket or pay a parking meter.

The onus is on you as the driver to make payment for parking as soon as you park your car.

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Does the City of Melbourne give drivers a grace period?

No grace period is provided for in the Road Safety Road Rules 2009. According to the road rules, vehicles are considered to be illegally parked as soon as the maximum permitted parking time has been exceeded, or as soon as a vehicle is found parked at an expired meter.

In the City of Melbourne, motorists are provided with five minutes grace after the maximum permitted parking time has been exceeded. This allows you time to return to your car and avoid incurring a parking infringement notice.

This is the only instance in which a grace period is applied.

Any grace period that is applied is a City of Melbourne practice, not specified in the road rules, and is strictly limited to five minutes.

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What about the time it takes me to unload my car or buy a parking ticket?

If the maximum permitted time is purchased (for example, you pay for two hours parking in a 2P signed area), five minutes grace is added to the purchased time to allow for these activities.

If you instead elect to pay for less than the maximum permitted time (for example, you choose to pay for only one hour in a 2P signed area), it is your responsibility to conclude your parking activities within the time you have chosen to pay for. Five minutes grace will not be added in this scenario.

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Can I avoid moving my car if there are other free spaces nearby?

Availability of other parking spaces nearby does not alter the application of the Road Rules. Once the maximum permitted parking time shown on the parking sign has elapsed, you are required to move your car to another parking area. Cars that are parked for longer than indicated on the parking sign may receive a parking fine.

Note: Moving your vehicle forwards or backwards within the same parking area does not satisfy this requirement under the Road Rules.

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Do time restrictions apply on public holidays?

Some parking restrictions are different on public holidays.

Parking signs that state days of the week do not apply on public holidays.

Signs that do not state days of the week apply every day, regardless of whether it is a public holiday.

Read more information and examples about parking on public holidays.

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How long can I park in a Loading Zone?

Eligible vehicles may park in a Loading Zone for up to 30 minutes, unless otherwise signed.

Find more information about which vehicles are allowed to park in a Loading Zone

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Parking meters

How do I use a meter parking area?

After parking your car, check the applicable signs and locate the designated parking meter for the area. Follow instructions on the meter to pay for the parking time you wish to use.

The onus is on you as the driver to make payment for parking as soon as you park your car.

Some meter parking areas use multi-bay meters, where a single electronic parking meter services a number of parking bays. In these areas, check for the number painted on the parking bay or kerb alongside the parking bay where your car is parked and follow the arrow to the designated multi-bay meter. Follow instructions on the meter to pay for the bay in which your car is parked.

Payment is only valid if made at the designated parking meter and for the correct bay number in which your car is parked.

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Can I top up or ‘feed the meter’ once it runs out?

You cannot insert more money into a parking meter or purchase another ticket to stay longer than the time permitted by the parking sign.

Once you have parked and paid for the maximum permitted time as shown on the parking sign, you must move your vehicle to another parking area.

If you did not initially pay for the maximum permitted time (for example, you paid for only one hour in a 2P signed area), you may add coins to the meter or place your new ticket beside the original ticket on your dashboard up to the maximum time shown on the sign (for example, you can pay for the remaining one hour allowed in the 2P area).

It is your responsibility to be parked for no longer than the time permitted by the parking sign.

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Why does the meter let me purchase more time than permitted on the sign?

Most parking areas in the City of Melbourne are governed by a number of parking restrictions, which are communicated on the parking sign.

Different restrictions apply at particular times of the day or on different days of the week to maximise the number of parking spaces available during various periods (for example, during peak hour). An example of a parking sign with various restrictions is shown below.

Parking signs showing different restrictions on Monday to Saturday and on Sunday

Due to the various restrictions which appear on parking signs, meters cannot be programmed to reject payment once the maximum parking time indicated on the sign has lapsed at particular times of the day, or on different days of the week.

You are required to read the relevant parking signs and insert only the required payment into a meter. 

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What should I do if the parking meter or ticket machine is not working?

If you encounter a fault with a parking machine, you should report the fault (via telephone or text message) by following the instructions on the meter. After receiving a fault report, a technician will investigate the fault.

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If the parking machine is not working, can I stay in the bay for as long as I like?

No, the time restrictions indicated on the parking sign apply even if the parking meter or ticket machine is not in operation.

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Ticket machines and parking tickets

How do I use a ticket parking area?

After parking your car, check the applicable signs and locate the designated ticket machine for the area. Follow instructions on the machine to purchase a ticket, and display the ticket face up on your dashboard.

The onus is on you as the driver to purchase and display a parking ticket as soon as you park your car.

A ticket is not valid unless displayed face up on the dashboard, with the expiry time and all other inscriptions visible to a parking officer from outside of the car. Check this before leaving your car.

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What if I accidentally displayed my ticket facedown?

If a parking ticket is not displayed properly (e.g. displayed facedown or slipped off the dashboard), parking officers are unable to determine whether the vehicle is legally parked. Any car parked in a ticketed area without correctly displaying a parking ticket is liable to receive a parking fine. 

Sending the City of Melbourne a copy of your parking ticket after receiving a parking fine does not fulfil the conditions of parking in a ticketed area.

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Parking sensors

What is a parking sensor?

A parking sensor is a small electronic device that is installed underneath a parking bay to detect and record the time a car arrives and departs from a parking bay.

Sensors were installed in approximately 4600 parking bays in the central and inner city areas between August 2011 and May 2012.

View a map (PDF, 124kb) showing where the parking technology is operating.

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How do the sensors work?

Once a vehicle has overstayed the maximum time permitted in a bay, plus a grace period of five minutes, a parking officer in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle will receive a notification from the sensor. The officer will then check to see if a parking offence has occurred before issuing a fine.

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Are the sensors accurate?

The sensors are extremely accurate. They record the exact time that a vehicle enters and departs a parking bay. Each sensor conducts a self-test each morning to ensure it is in working order. If not, the sensor does not switch on for the day.

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How do the sensors affect me as a driver?

There has been no change to your obligations as a driver. You still need to pay for parking where necessary and observe the time limit on the parking sign.

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Are sensors linked to parking meters?

Sensors and parking meters are two separate devices and are therefore not linked to one another.

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Why did the City of Melbourne install the sensors?

Sensors offer a more consistent and accurate approach to parking management by encouraging drivers to comply with parking restrictions.

This supports the steady turnover of parking spaces and helps to make on-street parking more readily available for shoppers, visitors and residents.

It also ensures the limited supply of on-street parking is managed in a fair and equitable manner for the large number of vehicles in the city each day.

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How was this change communicated to the public?

The City of Melbourne ran a communications campaign around the time the sensors were installed to inform residents, business owners and visitors.

There are ongoing measures in place to enhance awareness among motorists, including brightly coloured flyers attached to parking signage, meters and ticket machines around the municipality.

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Do sensors affect how are parking fines issued?

There is no change to how parking fines are issued. Once a vehicle has overstayed the time permitted in a bay (as indicated by the sign), a parking officer in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle will receive a notification from the sensor. The officer will check to see if a parking offence has occurred before issuing a parking fine.

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Are sensors installed in non-standard size loading zone bays?

Parking officers will continue to enforce parking restrictions for these bays in line with the signage. The expectation for commercial drivers using non-standard size loading zone bays remains the same – to observe the time limit on the parking sign.

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What if the sensor time is slightly different to the time on my watch/clock?

The sensors are synchronised through a central server which is set to Australian Eastern Standard Time. The devices used by parking officers to issue infringement notices are also synchronised through this same server.

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Loading Zones

What are Loading Zones?

Loading zones are authorised parking spaces for use by specific types of vehicles which are engaged in picking up or setting down passengers or goods on behalf of a company or business. They are not intended for the short-term parking of private vehicles.

Loading Zones are provided to:

  • ensure efficient and orderly delivery of goods and documents where parking space is limited
  • improve road safety and traffic flow by providing specific areas for loading and unloading.

Courier vehicles and delivery vehicles are defined in the Road Rules and must have signs displayed on them in a specific manner.

Read more about Loading Zones.

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Can I park my private vehicle in a Loading Zone while I am picking up or delivering goods (e.g. furniture or bicycle for repair)?

No. Loading Zones are not provided for use by drivers of private vehicles, regardless of whether you are undertaking a business activity, collecting passengers or picking up goods. A variety of other parking spaces are provided for general use.

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I have a Parking Permit for People with Disabilities, can I park or be dropped off in a Loading Zone?

Loading Zones are unable to be used for vehicles transporting or dropping off a person with a Parking Permit for People with Disabilities.

Read more information about Parking Permits for People with Disabilities.

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Parking fines

How much are parking fines?

For the 2014-15 financial year the penalty amount ranges from $74 to $148, depending on the offence.

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What is the role of a parking officer?

Parking officers enforce the Road Rules and parking restrictions. Officers encourage voluntary compliance by motorists. This means whenever a driver is with their vehicle they are given an opportunity to move their vehicle before a parking fine is issued. If you fail to comply with a request made by a parking officer, you may receive a parking fine.

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What can I do if I disagree with a parking fine?

If you believe there is a good reason for you not to pay a parking fine, you may apply for an internal review. For further information, visit Requesting a review of your infringement notice.

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How is an internal review of a parking fine conducted?

When undertaking reviews of parking fines, the City of Melbourne takes into account all of the available information, including:

  • Information collected by the parking officer who issued the notice
  • Photographs taken by the officer (there is no legislative requirement for an officer to take photographs to support a parking fine, but most officers take photographs in the course of their work)
  • Information provided by the applicant in their request for internal review (and any supporting documentation)
  • Road Safety Road Rules 2009 requirements
  • Relevant provisions under the Victorian Infringements Act 2006 guiding the internal review of infringement notices.

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What grounds will the City of Melbourne not consider as a basis for reviewing a parking fine?

The following grounds are not considered valid reasons for the withdrawal of a parking fine:

  • Re-feeding a parking meter
  • Being new to or unfamiliar with the City of Melbourne or a particular Road Rule
  • Appointments or meetings running over time
  • A parking ticket displayed incorrectly (e.g. facedown or blown off the dashboard)
  • Not noticing or misreading a parking sign
  • Being unaware of which vehicles can use Loading Zones or Permit Zones
  • Incorrectly displaying a dual-registration or transferable parking permit
  • Running out of petrol or experiencing vehicle issues that did not require repair/towing

Read common parking misconceptions for more information

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Your parking time starts as soon as your car stops in the bay. Avoid a fine! Check the parking sign.