Goodbye parking meters! Hello parking apps

Just read a useful CHOICE piece on parking fines as I copped a $116 fine this week I parked in Brisbane and initially had a frustrating & fruitless search for a parking meter. Then saw a sign on a pole: “pay by app”. What app?? I need more information! Mystified at our brave new online world where councils see fit to punish you financially for not downloading something. I was completely unprepared to do a google search of apps on a hot late morning while meter hunting (maybe different if I was installed with laptop & cappuccino in a cafe). Really feel for us 60 plus people trying to go about our normal business. Cannot help but wonder if this is a deliberate way of penalising those of us who don’t understand “pay by app” and are more familiar with meters! To add “salt to the wounds” got a letter from a Melbourne legal firm saying they are acting on behalf of Brisbane City Council. What’s wrong with Brissy lawyers?!


Hi @Parishincense61, welcome to the community.

Brisbane City Council has information on the CellOPark app on their website:

While it can be used to pay for parking in Council regulated parking bays/stations, the Brisbane City Council indicates that one doesn’t need to use CellOPark and there are:

Other payment options

If you are having difficulties paying for parking using CellOPark, you can use alternative payment methods:

  • use a nearby parking meter, if available
  • phone Council on 07 3403 8888 to report any difficulties
  • phone CellOPark’s automated phone payment service on 07 5646 5222
  • consider other parking options.

Perhaps the BCC needs to put that information in/on a real placard or sign near the parking spaces. Not everyone is online 24/7 and may not have any access to the net at that time when they need to pay for parking. I wonder if that could be seen as a barrier to non online parkers, as no phone number to ring is made obvious in a simple “use this app” description on a pole.

If someone wishes to appeal/dispute a BCC fine they have a process/procedure to do so.


For those without a mobile it looks like option #1 or #4. How far is it to a parking meter or other options? How is it that organisations can make having a device effectively compulsory?

Connected tech was sold to us as a net benefit to the common man. It looks to me to be more in favour of organisations that we have little choice but to deal with.

From those who refuse to answer the phone (leave a message we will call you within 5 day) to those who ensure that they can harvest your data, to disadvantaging classes of consumers it all flows one way - their way.


It seems a bit rich to direct someone to look for a ‘nearby parking meter’ or ‘consider other parking options’ when a car park is often rarer than a cheap or any rental property. Staying home and avoiding taking part in the local economy might be the answer many offer?

So far all the local parking I have encountered has a very obvious card reader along with information to report if it is failed. Apps payments are also increasingly in vogue but for a while (still?) if the app service failed you copped the fine, not the app service. Appeals were not always successful a few years ago!

Some recent kerfuffle (2020) with Melbourne CC published by the Victoria (government) ombudsman demonstrates how arrogant councils and their systems can be.


As a part time resident of Brisbane and rate payer I must have missed or overlooked the Council’s promotion of the changes. Mostly I’ll use public transport or for the flexibility a parking station to access the city.

How is any one from outside Bris supposed to know how it now is?
I’d expect like anywhere else in Australia I’ve had to pay for street parking a CC is all one needs to hand and a short walk to a kiosk of not individually metered.

All the wiser now. Don’t Exocet a nearby parking meter.

Where there are no meters assume one has just two choices. Neither are tap and go. One requires a working mobile service, assuming you have found the contact number to phone in your spot and pay digitally. The other requires a working mobile service with smart phone - assuming one has the App installed and a way to pay digitally.

“Providing increased Parking Options”?
Option of one if you need to park in certain streets or parts of the city.

It looks like we all now need to check online every time before we go out for changes in the world. Hopefully Siri, Alexa, “the one who shall not be named” (Googles’s assistant) all know what it is we need to know before we go! :roll_eyes:


I am a 60 something Brisbane resident who installed the CelloPark App on my phone 18 months ago.
I don’t use it often but I think it’s marvellous and so much more convenient than the old coin or card meter systems.
The terrific thing is you just key in the code of the pole you are near and press ‘Start’ then before you leave press ‘Finish’ and the app charges your card the exact amount for the time you were parked.
With meters you had to guess how long your business was going to take and often paid way more than you needed to if you got your chores completed quickly or had to come back to the meter to top-up your payment if things took way longer than you expected.
I think once you try parking with an app you won’t want to go back to the kerfuffle of the old meter system.
I have recently installed the apps for the petrol stations on my phone and have had a couple of goes at ‘paying at the pump’ with the phone app and find it’s equally thrilling and convenient and also highly recommend readers try these out.


6 posts were merged into an existing topic: Can I use a Mobile Phone/Device at a Service Station?

It’s worse than that (in my opinion, of course). How is it that organisations can make running untrusted, unverifiable code on your device compulsory?

I take your point that some people, for whatever reason, might simply not have a mobile device at all.

But what are the options if you have a mobile device but it is not compatible with running random apps (e.g. may be too old or e.g. may be Just A Phone™) and/or your security requirements are not compatible with running random apps?

What actually happens if you ring the “automated phone payment service”?

Couldn’t the Council provide a web site in addition to an app? (Based on the description above there doesn’t seem to be a major benefit in using an app, as compared with a web site. Surprisingly, the app doesn’t even seem to give you a QR code to scan from the pole so that you don’t have to key in the pole number, again based on the description above.)

Then of course there are the people who want to pay cash because, let’s face it, this whole thing is an extension of the surveillance state. It’s one more way that the government tracks and records your movements as you go about your law-abiding life. It’s one more opportunity for surveillance capitalism, where the government augments its income by selling that surveillance data.

What happens when there’s a major telecommunications outage on? Whether that’s at the payer’s end or at Council’s end?

Dare I ask what actually happens if you forget to press “Finish”?

Worst case (guess): They charge you as if you parked there for the whole period that you could theoretically have parked there and been charged for.

Best case (guess): Sensors in the road tell them when you left anyway and you just get charged basically the right amount as if you had not forgotten to press “Finish”.

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It appears, at least on the surface, there might be a bit of skulduggery going on the selection and preferences for the parking apps.


I checked easypark and paystay. Surprises abound! Each has rather ‘generous’ charges for their valuable services, some payment method surcharges, and even dormant account charges.

The ways to skim money from day to day activity seems unbounded. For details best read their respective t&c as well as the links embedded therein.