Lord Mayor Clover Moore has emerged as Sydney's multi-millionaire meter maid and is making $123,000 a day from the very motorists she's trying to drive out of the city.
City of Sydney collected $45 million from parking meters and parking stations last financial year, up from $25 million in 2004-05, when Ms Moore took the top job.
The Lord Mayor's meter revenue has risen steadily every year since 2004, despite claims by City of Sydney that the hourly rate paid by motorists at a lot of meters and parking stations had not risen significantly in a decade.
Fewer parking fines are being issued in the City of Sydney as compliance is improving
"Meter and parking station fees do not automatically increase each year. For example, parking rates in some parts of The Rocks did not change from 2001 to 2014," a City spokesman said. "In parts of the inner west, the last change was in 2006 when peak hour rates were reduced from $4.50 to $3.30 and $2.20 in some areas." It attributes the increased revenue to more motorists using meters and carparks rather than parking illegally and risking fines, the number of which are said to have fallen.
"In 2004 there were about 1106 meters compared with 1443 in 2014," a city spokesman said. "Fewer parking fines are being issued in the City of Sydney as compliance is improving. However meter income has increased as more drivers are using upgraded parking meters." Ms Moore's meter money is ploughed back into services, including garbage collection, street cleaning, libraries, footpaths, sports facilities, playgrounds and cultural events.
But motorists are effectively being driven out of the city, with recent news that 660 on-street parking spaces have been lost in the past decade to make way for City of Sydney cycle paths.
Construction of the George St light rail, a joint City of Sydney project with the Baird government which begins on October 23, will also force more cars out of the city.
A 1km stretch of George St will be pedestrians-only.
The NRMA said there are 52,500 parking spaces in Sydney (including privately operated carparks) for a population of 4.5 million
NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said: "The NRMA is not surprised by these figures. Our analysis shows Sydney motorists pay much more for fewer parking spots than similar cities overseas.
"Sydney motorists are sick of being demonised. The argument that we need to do more to encourage people to access public transport ignores the fact that already more Sydneysiders access the CBD by public transport than in cities overseas."The NRMA said there are 52,500 parking spaces in Sydney (including privately operated carparks) for a population of 4.5 million. Its research shows US city Boston has 70,000 car spaces for a similarly sized population.