Do not be a minute late unless you want to pay $6.00 for parking

Today the following post appeared on ITC

15 minutes it took me to get out of the Lane Cove Market Square carpark today and because of that I went over in time and had to pay to get out. The “charming” women on the other side of the intercom wouldn’t let me get a word in to explain so I ended up just paying because it wasn’t worth listening to her blabbing on about it being a really busy carpark and I should have given myself enough time to get out before my three hours are up. Seriously ever since they changed the way the gates work it takes forever to get out of there, so they should give you some leeway for goodness sakes!!!!”

It was interesting to see this post after observing some activities in the car park recently. This post-appeared only days after I was also, for the first time, trapped by the dreaded boom gate.
When I drove into the car park it was just before 9.30 am ( 9.24 am to be exact).  I don’t usually check the time but I did not want to be late for a meeting.

I had a client meeting, did some errands, posted some letters (and lets face it you need time to navigate the Lane Cove post office system) and then met another client for a meeting.

After the meeting I went back to my car, which was parked near the payment machine. As I was getting into my car I overheard a lady arguing with the voice in the machine.  The boom gate had come down on her and she was letting the voice know that she had only been an hour or so and definitely not three hours in the car park.

By the time I backed out of the parking spot it was 12.20 pm.  I had to give way to all the cars turning left and then had to wait for numerous cars to go through the boom gate and one car stopped to speak to the car park attendant. I went to drive out and the boom gate came down. I was surprised. How could this be I thought? I was sure I had minutes to spare. I looked down and I had exceeded the time by literally a couple of minutes.

After reading the large sign I was directed to read the small screen on the box on my right.  I highly doubt that a person who specialises in communication or signage layout designed the instructional sign.  So now I was the cause of a delay to other drivers. I then had to back up a bit to look at the box.  I then strained my eyes to see. I had trouble reading the amount to be paid and how long I had been there. I did not have time to find my reading glasses, which were buried deep within my handbag.  Meanwhile I am now creating a delay for others.
The system is flawed. It relies on you to remember the exact time you came into the car park. If you are in a hurry, have a screaming kid or some other distraction; it is very easy to forget the time you entered the car park.

I will now be taking a photo of my dashboard as soon as I park so I have some sort of contemporaneous note of the time I entered the car park.  I wonder if there is an app for that.


It just does not make sense that if you are attempting to leave within the time period you are charged if you drive out after the three hours has just ticked over.  I have had on numerous occasions had to wait in my car because the trolley man has parked me in.  There are always going to be factors outside your control.  This is why when you park in a car park that has a paper ticket payment system there is always a grace period (usually about 15 minutes) between paying and leaving the car park.

Bring in a grace period please. Do you agree?


  1. That car park is ridiculous – I try to only use that one as a last resort! why do they do that? don’t they want us to shop there either? In fact its much easier for me to go to Northbridge, better shops no boom gates – go figure. It sucks!

  2. Does the receipt from your payment include the entry and exit (or attempted exit) times?

    If so, perhaps people could start sending in copies of their receipt to Market Square requesting a refund and explaining which one of the numerous problems in the car park was responsible for them going over time – lifts were broken, boom gate faulty, traffic congestion due to people stopping to read that INSANELY ridiculous essay on the screen at the boom gate, trolley person blocking your car, traffic congestion due to how slow the boom gate system is, traffic congestion because the driver in front of you stopped short in shock when they thought the boom gate was going to drop on their car…

    Even if they refuse your request, they have to respond to your letter.

    A few of those a week to their office might get their attention.

  3. Nat, I can’t believe you were stuck in their lift and they still charged you. Total joke. I wish I could boycott that parking but alas, I need it. They probably know that.

    The boom gate is a total joke! Have you noticed that if a car stops too close to the gate it doesn’t open at all? Then every car needs to reverse so that car can get on the exact tiny spot where the sensor must be? I have looked at these people like ugh! Then…it happened to me today. Karma! But honestly, how can the sensor be so small! Rant over.

  4. people just don’t go over the 3 hours, or park just outside at the back of coles

    1st world problems……..

  5. I cant stand that car park – feel like they are treating us like criminals – between that and putting money into use the Woolies trolleys
    This week they attempted to charge me $40 for 88 minutes parking because they claimed that I had left the carpark and come back in – I had driven past the camera to get back to those parking spots near the payment machine, they counted that as me leaving the car park – of course there was no record of me coming back in. It took me 15 minutes to get out of the car park after arguing with the guy – rephoning him as he could not be bothered to tell me what he was going to do about it, sitting in traftic to get to the boom gate and then phoning him again as he still had not fixed the problem when I finally made it to the boom gate again.
    I dont even know who to complain to – there is no information anywhere about who the manager of that centre is – no contact details nothing – the system is so completely flawed!!!

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