The Toowoomba City Centre Car Parking Strategy will progress in the 2022/23 financial year with the rollout of Smart Parking across the CBD from July 2022. The introduction of this new technology will not only mean parking in the CBD will be easier than ever but will be a catalyst for other project innovations across our Region.

At the November 2021 Ordinary Meeting of Council, we approved the conversion of existing on-street parking locations within the Toowoomba city centre to a mix of free and paid parking, which will enable high-demand parking locations within the city centre to be managed more efficiently through pricing. Free parking for the first 30 minutes will be introduced as part of the changes.

We've been working with residents and businesses to develop improvements to our parking infrastructure, payment methods and technology and parking availability since 2014. Your feedback has helped us plan what parking in the heart of Toowoomba looks like in the years ahead.

A key element in this strategy will be delivering Smart Parking technology to improve customer experience, with greater accessibility to parking. We also need to make best use of and more efficiently manage our existing parking assets. 

The future of parking in the CBD includes more payment options and the ability to find and navigate to vacant parking spaces. All existing single head meters will be replaced with new pay stations. We plan to commence active engagement with residents and business communities from late February 2022.

Visit our Yoursay website for updates on parking smart in the Toowoomba CBD, as we transform your parking experience.

Start date

Early 2021

Planned implementation

From July 2022


  • You will have the choice to pay by cash, credit or debit card, or via the new Council app when parking in the CBD.
  • We are moving to a bay identification system for on-street parks in the CBD. If paying via an on-street parking machine, this bay number will be required for input. If paying by the app, the system will use GPS to identify the parking bay.
  • The Smart Parking project will see the installation of small in-ground vehicle detection sensors for on-street bays, and approximately 170 new (or repurposed) pay machines, in the CBD.
  • The first 30-minutes of on-street parking within the CBD will be free. Any additional parking fees can be paid at a pay machine, or you can simply pay via the Council app.
  • We will be introducing a Licence Plate Recognition (LPR) vehicle to support the system inside and outside of the CBD, within Council’s existing zoned parking areas.

cbd smart parking map


Will cash and card payment options continue?

Yes, you will have the choice to pay by cash, card, or via the new Council app when parking in the CBD.

Will the CBD parking time limits still apply?

Yes, the one, two and three-hour-time limit signage across the CBD will still apply to on-street parking bays with this payment system. Existing time periods for all off-street car parks will also remain.

You can only park and pay for the maximum time that corresponds to the space you are using. The first 30-minutes will be free, therefore, if you park in a two-hour car park and need it for the maximum time you will pay for 1.5 hours.

How much is it to park?

The first 30-minutes of parking is free for on-street CBD parking with the existing rate of $1.90 per hour applying after that. For all-day parking, our off-street car parks are a better alternative with cheaper flat daily rates. Some carparks offer a discount for 5-day tickets. Check rates and carparks here.

When will the system be reviewed?

Once installed, the system will regularly be reviewed by the supplier in consultation with us.

Are there any new jobs as a result of the move to Smart Parking?

There will be no job losses and potentially, future job opportunities may be available.

Is this plan expected to increase revenue for the Toowoomba Region?

Given this is a significant change to how parking works, this has not yet been established. It is ultimately determined by the compliance rate.

What is happening with the Grand Central carpark?

Grand Central operates as an independent business. Parking rates and the amount of free parking at Grand Central are not determined by us.

How will the new system work?

Parking sensor devices will be installed in, on, or above, the road surface at both on and off-street parking spaces across the CBD. The sensors will record when a parking space is occupied and the duration of the vehicle’s stay. Parking availability information will be accessible via the mobile app, enabling drivers to find out in advance where they may be able to find a vacant parking space.

Will I still be able to pay for a park using a ticket machine?

Yes. Two models of pay machines will be installed that will either accept card-only payments, or a combination of cash and card.

Will I need to enter my vehicle registration?

No. As we move to a bay identification system, only the space ID is required for input.

What if I don’t have a smartphone?

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a smartphone – you can still use cash or card at the on-street pay machines.

What do the sensors look like?

The on-street parking sensors are very small and will not be noticeable once installed. Examples are shown below.

sensorsensor 2

Displaying a paid ticket - why don't I need to do this?

The new technology eliminates the need for you to display a ticket in your vehicle in on-street or off-street parking areas. This will reduce the environmental impact caused by paper waste and minimise the inconvenience of returning to the car to display the ticket.

Where can Council’s mobile app be downloaded?

Council’s mobile app is a free-to-download payment application available for Android, Apple and Windows that allows users to pay for their parking without having to go to a parking meter. Further information can be found on our Yoursay website.

How long do I have to sign up for?

There is no binding contract period. You are free to cancel your subscription at any time.

What methods of payment does the mobile app accept?

You can pay by credit and debit card using Visa or MasterCard.

What is the main benefit of the mobile app?

When paying by cash or card, you must make an estimate of how long you will park and make a payment to cover this period. That remaining time will expire once the car leaves the parking space. Research shows motorists typically overpay by 30 per cent using this method. Payment via the app is only made once you press 'stop' to end the parking session and the car departs the space, so you only pay for what you use.

When will the app be available to use?

The app will be available for download prior to the changes taking effect from July 2022.   

Will there be alerts in the app if time is running out?

Yes. You will receive a reminder 15 minutes before the end-time so that you have the chance to extend your parking, where available.

Can I reserve a parking space with the app?

No. You can find available car parks on the mobile app, but you can’t reserve a space before your arrival.

I use several cars – can I still use the app?

The app has a registered account and as the pay-by-space system is adopted, you will be able to register multiple vehicle registration numbers for selection when parking.

How does the app accommodate the free 30 minutes of parking, or other free parking times?

The app is based on time usage and will automatically only start charging for your parking after 30 minutes have expired.  For example, if you start a parking session at 4 pm you will be charged from 4.30 pm; however, if the parking in that area is free of charge from 5 pm, the app will limit your parking session (and your payment) to 30 minutes between 4.30 pm to 5 pm only.

What if I forget to end the parking session?

A parking session will never go on longer than the time you initially set for the session, or the maximum possible parking time in a given area. You will receive a reminder 15 minutes before the end of your planned session so that you have the chance to extend your parking, where available.

Where does the app work?

Within the greater Toowoomba CBD parking area.

Can I use the app elsewhere?

The app also covers most major car park companies such as Secure Parking, Wilson Parking, Cornerstone Parking and many more across Australia.

What if I have problems with the app?

You can contact us on 131 872 or UbiPark customer and app support via their website. UbiPark FAQs are also available on their website. 

Where will Licence Plate Recognition (LPR) be used?

LPR may be used inside and outside of the CBD within our existing zoned parking areas, to support compliance. The LPR will integrate with the Smart Parking system to determine if any overstay occurs.

Vehicle registration numbers - what will mine be used for?

Accessing and using registration numbers for compliance purposes is a normal, legally approved process. Any infringement notice must always list a registration number. The difference now is that we are linking the registration number with the payment technology to determine payment and overstay, rather than walking from car to car to observe such transactions. We will not be collecting or disclosing any of your personal information.

How does the number plate scanning vehicle work?

LPR vehicles scan, mark and photograph a vehicle's location from any angle with reliable and efficient technology.

Does the number plate scanning vehicle only work on cars parked at 90-degree angles?

No, the LPR vehicle can scan from all angles.

Does the number plate scanning vehicle work on cars parked bumper-to-bumper?

Yes, and it is illegal to park closer than one metre to another vehicle.

Do the number plate scanning vehicles issue fines, or do they alert staff on-foot about potential infringements?

They alert the Smart Parking system of an overstay and the system will automatically issue an infringement notice.

What will happen with disabled parking?

Disabled parking will remain exactly the same as it currently operates, with permits still to be clearly displayed. Disability parking permit conditions are available on our website.

Are there any different charges for concession card holders or pensioners?

No. This remains unchanged with the introduction of the Smart technology.

How do people with disability permits use the system? 

This system has not changed for people with a blue disability permit. Permits must be clearly displayed so the permit number and expiry date are visible from the outside of the vehicle.

I’m using my disability permit in a car that is not my own, how will the licence plate scanning vehicle see that I hold a permit? 

The permit is attached to a person rather than to a vehicle, so as long as the permit is clearly displayed there will be no concerns.

How do infringement notices work?

Parking infringements may be issued as per the current system, with parking inspectors putting paper parking fines on cars or handing a ticket to the driver. Infringements may be mailed out to the registered vehicle's address if there are adverse conditions for the tickets to be placed on car windows. Infringements may also be issued via the app if this was the method of payment used.

Appealing a fine - how do I appeal without a ticket?

Parking transaction details are contained in the Smart Parking software. If you believe you should not have been fined and wish to lodge an appeal, our staff will be able to access saved information about the parking transaction for your vehicle registration. More information about disputing a parking fine is available on our website.

Will parking tickets arrive in the mail?

In some circumstances, infringements are posted out. This happens for a variety of reasons and is part of the current parking process. The method of payment (i.e. via cash, card or the mobile app) will dictate how the fine is issued.

How will people know they've been fined?

By either a ticket on the windscreen, a ticket handed to the driver, via the mobile app, or posted to the registered vehicle’s address.

Related documents

Toowoomba City Centre Car Parking Strategy