ATHABASCA — When the Government of Alberta transitioned to the new e-ticketing system it was promised the software would be provided but after months of waiting it still hasn’t arrived in Athabasca.
At the Sept. 19 Town of Athabasca council meeting, chief financial officer Jeff Dalley explained community peace officer Brian Bandura had the equipment but not the means to input and print tickets and there was no sign the software would be forthcoming, so he suggested it come out of the portable weigh scales budget.
“Originally on our weigh scales we had budgeted $15,000 (and) as I indicated in the RFP (request for proposal) we came in at just under $10,500,” Dalley said. “I'm suggesting that we take the rest of the money now … to purchase the ticketing software annual license which this year will be $1,550.”
Going forward it will add $1,050 to the annual budget, Dalley explained, and the $500 more for this year covers training for Bandura on how to use the system.
“I’m just wondering how much faster this will make it,” said Coun. Edie Yuill.
Bandura explained he averages seven to nine minutes when ticketing someone and every minute on the side of the road increases the risk of an accident, plus it can take up to 30 minutes to enter the handwritten ticket into the computer later at the office.
“When you go in with the e-ticketing solution, you scan the driver's licence, that information pops up automatically for you,” said Bandura. “You pick the violation they have; you pick whether it’s a warning or financial violation; you enter the plate number and then push a button; ticket prints. It's about four to five minutes.”
Under the former procedure, the tickets must be sent into the St. Albert courthouse to be matched in the system while with an e-ticket a joint report for Bandura and St. Albert is produced, cutting down on duplicate work.
“It is quite an intensive process to get my handwritten ticket from my workstation in my truck, over to the St. Albert courthouse,” he said.
Mayor Rob Balay asked if there were, on average, enough tickets handed out to cover the additional $1,000 cost.
“I think right now I’m close to $34,000 which is about 160 tickets,” Bandura said. “That includes bylaws, provincial statues, animal (control), unsightly (property), land use, speeding, other traffic violations, non-moving traffic, stop signs.”
“I think efficiency is important, but I think equally as important is the safety of our peace officer,” said Balay. “I think that has to be a consideration for us here as well.”
Yuill made the motion for the cost of the software to be taken from the weigh scales fund and it passed unanimously.