City Hall still seeing hundreds of complaints a month about parking tickets, but numbers are down
People are still having trouble with Saskatoon’s new parking stations.
It has been two years since the city replaced meters with standalone stations where people enter their licence plate number, and City Hall is still getting flooded with complaints.
The number of “request to review error” complaints average 300 per month, but that’s down from 700 in 2015, said the city’s director of community standards, Andrew Hildebrandt.
New app means Saskatoon drivers can now pay for parking on their smartphone
Hildebrandt said there are a host of reasons why people dispute their tickets.
Wrong licence plate number common error
A common reason is because people accidently enter the wrong plate number on the machines.
That happened to Janet Barnes. She described how she had a new vehicle with a new plate and had forgotten her glasses. She didn’t realize she’d inadvertently entered the wrong plate number until after she returned from lunch with friends and had a ticket on her windshield.
Sensing that she might have a case to get out the ticket, she went down to City Hall and fought it.
Janet Barnes says she is thankful the city hall staff let her off with a warning when she accidentally entered the wrong licence plate at the pay station.
The clerk at the counter didn’t make her pay the ticket. The clerk also told her it was a policy at City Hall to give people one chance at entering the wrong plate before making them pay a ticket, Barnes said.
“I was absolutely grateful, because I’m retired and it’s good to have that extra money in my pocket.”
City denies forgiveness policy
Hildebrandt, however, denied there was such a policy. He said if people enter the wrong licence plate, it’s their own fault and they are responsible for paying the ticket.
“We follow the bylaw as it is and we let the courts decide,” he said.
Barnes thinks the city should be forgiving first time offenders and she said it’s unfair that the city is not advertising the grace they are giving some drivers. She said a lot of people have had trouble adapting to the new system.
“I expect that there are lot of older people who enter wrong license plate numbers,” she said.
City says revenue exceeding expectation
Hildebrandt said the 60 per cent reduction in the number of people disputing tickets is a sign things are improving with the new system.
He said a new parking app feature, which remembers user’s licence plates, should also cut down on the number of people making mistakes.
The city would not provide data on the number of disputed tickets these days compared to the old system.
The city did say that revenues from the meters are surpassing its $5.2-million target. Ticket revenue, however, hasn’t notably changed, the city said.
Here is the parking meter and ticket revenue as provided by the City of Saskatoon:
Recently, city council decided to hike parking fines as a way to make up for lost revenue as a result of the provincial budget.