If you’ve ever driven in a parking-poor city and hunted for a spot for hours, you’ve probably thought to yourself, “I’ll just get into the Loading Zone, I’ll only be 10 minutes!”.
- The Loading Zone is not designed to be a parking lot
- Only certain vehicles are allowed to park there
- Time limits apply for different uses of this area
But there are rules around the Loading Zone, and yes – you guessed it – it’s mainly for loading and unloading vehicles made to carry goods.
So, can you park a wagon or hatchback or SUV in the Loading Zone? If you are carrying goods, it is conceivable that you can.
But there are a few words you need to remember when talking about this zone, which always seems like prime real estate… but just like the hottest places, you may end up paying a high price for the privilege.
In New South Wales, drivers are allowed to park in Loading Zones under certain conditions.
The City of Sydney’s word on the subject is: “Vehicles built primarily to carry goods can stop in the loading zone for up to 30 minutes to drop off or pick up goods. Any vehicle may stop briefly to pick up or drop off passengers. Public buses can stop for up to 30 minutes to pick up or drop off passengers.“
While Transport for NSW adds a bit more, including an important definition of the types of vehicles that can be parked at the current site: “Types of goods vehicles include trucks, delivery vans and station wagons used for the delivery of goods.”
Further, it states that: Loading zones are primarily intended to support businesses without access to off-street loading or parking facilities in areas with limited on-street parking. A driver may park in a loading zone if:
- They drive vehicles that have been built to carry goods and they are involved in picking up or dropping off goods (up to a maximum of 30 minutes). For example, drivers deliver musical equipment on the spot; or
- They drive public buses and they pick up or drop off passengers (up to a maximum of 30 minutes)
- Drivers of other vehicles may also use the loading zone to drop off or pick up passengers, but may only stop for the duration while a person is entering or exiting the vehicle
Fines are imposed for not complying with the rules in the Loading Zone. You could be fined up to $196.
Similar laws in Melbourne for Loading Zones, with VicRoads stating: “A loading zone is provided to enable the pickup or delivery of cargo or people close to their destination. They are not provided for short-term parking.”
In Victoria there is a different time limit for this place (as noted – default is 30 minutes), but there are some differences to the rules in NSW:
- The person carrying the goods must drive a: a goods carrier vehicle; signed courier or delivery vehicle; trucks that are unloading or picking up goods.
- The person carrying the passenger must drive: a bus or vehicle with a seating capacity for 10, 11 or 12 adults (including the driver) used to carry passengers for hire or reward
- Public bus; licensed commercial passenger vehicles such as taxis, rental cars or other special purpose vehicles.
- Other drivers must not stop in the loading zone, even when loading or unloading.”
Victoria does offer a “friendly warning to business sedan and station wagon drivers”, that they must ensure their vehicles have sufficient signage to identify them as business, company or courier vehicles.”
If your sign isn’t up to size – or you don’t have a sign at all – you risk being booked. If you don’t have a sign on your sedan or station wagon, use a 1/4 hour or other standard parking spot to pick up or drop off.”
If you fail to comply with the rules in Victoria, you can be fined $110.
In QLD, there are rules that – if broken – can get you a $117 fine (or double that if it’s a designated commercial vehicle space).
QLD Transport states that drivers must not stop in a Loading Zone unless you:
- Dropping off or picking up passengers (stop no more than 2 minutes)
- Dropping off or picking up a disabled passenger (stop no more than 5 minutes)
- Delivering or picking up goods (stop no more than 20 minutes)
- Have a commercial vehicle identification label (issued by the local government for the area)
- Driving a bus, truck or commercial vehicle (stops no more than 30 minutes)
As with other states, the time limit may vary depending on the area.
The South Australian driver’s handbook states that you must not stop or park your vehicle in a Loading Zone, unless you:
- Driving a commercial vehicle loading or unloading goods (and then no more than 30 minutes or as indicated on the sign)
- Driving other types of vehicles and loading or unloading cargo that is difficult to handle due to its weight or size (and then no more than 30 minutes or as indicated by signs)
- Driving a public bus or taxi (and then only to immediately drop off or pick up passengers) is allowed to park, as indicated by the signs
Interestingly, South Australian local government parking regulations (1991) also state that it is fine to use a Loading Zone if “the vehicle is parked only for the immediate purpose of dropping off or picking up passengers or goods”.
In the West, there are rules around parking in Loading Zones as well. But it depends on which one
Local Government Model Bylaw (Parking Facilities) No. 19, states that a person may not park a vehicle in a loading zone unless it:
- Commercial vehicles involved in picking up or dropping off goods; or
- Motor vehicles that carry or drop off passengers; and then only if it doesn’t have a trailer attached.
And that states the definition of “commercial vehicle” is “a vehicle found in
description of motor carriage as specified in the Second Schedule of the Traffic Act”. Check your rego paper, then?
The City of Perth Street Parking Guide states that Loading Zones may only be used by “commercial vehicles as defined under the City Parking Law”. Then, they can only do so when “picking up or delivering goods”
The definition, according to the Guide, is “a motor vehicle that: (a) is constructed, adapted or assembled for the carriage of goods; and (b) used primarily for the carriage of goods, but excluding vehicles constructed for the carriage of materials used in any trade, business, industry or any other work.”
“Taxis, buses, trade, repair/service vehicles, on-demand vehicles or regular passenger vehicles may not stop in the loading zone, even if loading or unloading.”
It seems the rules in WA are open to interpretation, but if you are found guilty, a $100 fine may apply.
In the Northern Territory there doesn’t seem to be any strict enforcement of fines for parking in Loading Zones, but there are some common sense rules set out in the Road User handbook:
“Only drivers of vehicles specially built to carry goods can park their vehicles in the loading zone. These vehicles can stop for up to 30 minutes if they are being loaded or unloaded.
“If you drive another type of vehicle, you can only stop to pick up or drop off passengers on the side of the road. Exceptions may apply to disabled parking permit holders.”
In our nation’s capital, there are several different ways you can be fined if you are found doing the wrong thing in the Loading Zone.
The following rules may apply “unless you have a Loading Zone parking permit or the vehicle is specifically authorized to use the Loading Zone”, according to Access Canberra.
Vehicles permitted to do so, according to the ACT Road Regulations, 2017, include: public buses dropping off or picking up passengers; or trucks that unload or pick up goods; or a motor vehicle built primarily for the transport of goods and is unloading or picking up goods; or a vehicle displaying a current loading zone permit and complying with the conditions of the permit; or a taxi, shared vehicle or rental car, and the driver is dropping off or picking up a passenger; and not leaving the vehicle unattended, other than complying with passenger assistance requirements.
Under the regulations, the following fines may be imposed:
- (1) stop in loading zone – $172
- (2) (a) stop in loading zone longer than ½ hour – $172
- (2) (b) stop in loading zone longer than indicated – $172
- (2) (c) stop in loading zone longer than permitted – $172
- (2) (d) (i) taxi/shared vehicle/rental car stops in loading zone longer than 2 minutes – $170
- (2) (d) (ii) taxi/shared vehicle/hire car stops in loading zone longer than necessary for passenger assistance needs – $170
It may be one of the less populated areas in the country, but Tasmanian laws will probably get you fined more than anywhere else for abusing a Loading Zone.
According to the Tasmanian Road Rules 2019: A driver must not stop in a loading zone unless the driver is driving:
- (a) a public bus that drops off, or picks up, passengers; or
- (b) a truck or service vehicle, together with any trailer it may tow, which is unloading, or picking up, goods in the course of business; or
- (c) vehicles permitted to stop in the loading zone under other laws of this jurisdiction.
The State maintained that the Loading Zone “is provided for the loading or unloading of commercial vehicles only, for a maximum of 30 minutes (other conditions may also apply)”, and noted that the vehicle must display “the full name and address of the registered operator. ”.
And note: “Passenger vehicles must not stop in the loading zone, even if loading or unloading.”
Under the Offense Code: Stopping in a loading zone or Exceeding time in a loading zone, drivers can be fined up to $362 for doing the wrong thing.
Not intended as legal advice. Check with the relevant road authorities in your state or territory.