The free ride – or free car parking – is about to come to an end across Australia.
Councils across the country are getting ready to chalk tyres and issue parking tickets as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are gradually eased.
As previously reported by CarAdvice, many suburbs across Australia enjoyed free parking as councils took the bombers off the beat to help communities handle working from home orders and social distancing measures.
In many cases non-permit holders were allowed to occupy permit spaces, parking time limits were not enforced, meters were turned off, and city parking lots were free or had their hourly rates reduced.
But now, as state governments allow some businesses to reopen and restrictions on public gatherings are loosened, parking restrictions are once again being enforced in suburbs across Australia.
While some suburbs are keeping their emergency measures in place until late June or early July, others, like Stonnington Council in Melbourne's inner east, have informed residents they will receive "warning notices" during the month of May if they park illegally, with full fines and infringement notices issued from June 1 onwards.
"As people increasingly use their cars for shopping, work and visiting family and friends we will begin to enforce parking restrictions that were temporarily suspended in March when a State of Emergency was introduced in Victoria," Stonnington Council said on its website.
"Suspended parking restrictions included no parking in street sweeping areas and schools (red signs) and time limited parking areas (green signs)."
Similarly, nearby Yarra City Council reminded its residents parking restrictions are "easing back into place", while Brisbane City Council has turned its parking meters back on and inspectors have begun enforcing parking signs again.
Meanwhile, the City of Adelaide Council said it was "incrementally" resuming parking enforcements.
"With restrictions surrounding COVID-19 starting to ease and businesses starting to reopen, managing parking needs are constantly monitored," it said.
"We are incrementally resuming our standard approach to issuing Expiation Notices to illegally parked vehicles, to ensure parking is available to everyone."
Darwin's city council, however, told CarAdvice it was sticking with its current reduced restrictions until July.
"Parking in the CBD is still currently free, with time restrictions applying. This initiative finishes at the end of June 2020 with standard all-day and hourly parking fees applying from 1 July," a City of Darwin spokesperson said.
Of course, conditions will vary from council to council, so make sure you check with your local council office for details. CarAdvice has approached a number of councils in other states and is waiting to hear back regarding parking restriction changes.