It’s something hundreds of people do every day, park in downtown Shreveport, but as we found out, it’s the next step that could be costing you.
The company that enforces parking rules in Downtown Shreveport is ShrevePark Parking Service. They’re a private company hired by the city to write and collect tickets.
ShrevePark became the focus of our investigation when we noticed a problem with some of the tickets they were handing out. The first was when we received a ticket in November while using the ParkMobile App, which was introduced last year. The information was clear on our receipt, showing there was still an hour and twenty minutes remaining on the meter, but we still got a ticket for overtime parking.
A month later another ticket after using the ParkMobile app. As we looked into that problem, our team found other issues. One was jammed meters that wouldn’t take coins.
Thanks to a KTBS viewer we were also told about this parking spot, where there is no meter on the sidewalk, but if you don’t find a way to pay there will be tickets on your windshield.
Rodger Swann was willing to pay to park at a spot on Fannin Street if there was a meter. But there wasn’t — and no sign saying he couldn’t park there.
Swann was ticketed for parking in the spot. He told KTBS, “you either park two or three blocks away, or take this spot. So I pulled in and parked here. There wasn’t a meter, so I ran inside and upstairs for about 45 minutes and when I came back I had a parking ticket.”
We wanted to get answers from one of the men writing the tickets. While on patrol we asked, “have you or ShrevePark had any issues with this App or if it’s been brought to your attention?” The attendant answered,” no we haven’t had a problem with it.”
We caught up with his boss, the Manager at ShrevePark, to get answers, starting with the parking spot with no meter.
“Just because there’s no meter there doesn’t mean it’s a free space,” said Lorenzo Lee of ShrevePark.
Drivers can still be ticketed for not paying at the spots without a parking meter. Lee said it’s up to the driver to find a way to make that happen, like downloading the ParkMobile app.
Although we were told there’s no monthly quota ShrevePark wrote 27,618 tickets in 2016. Last year that number dropped to 24,858.
But what about the other issues we found facing drivers? According to Lee the first ticket involving the parking app was a mistake by the attendant. The wrong plate number was punched in, so his app didn’t show we’d fed the meter. According to Lee the second was a mixup on our end.
“Of course with any technology there’s a human element to it which always leaves room for error, so yes there’s some issues with it. Our most common error which is the same as yours is plate entry error,” said Lee.
Officials with ShrevePark tell us they’re looking into solutions for these problems, that includes finding a replacement meter at this spot on Fannin Street. If you find yourself with no metetr, Lee said to still use the ParkMobile App. New technology in the future may dramatically help.
Lee added, “until we upgrade to smart meters that will give us a notification where there’s an issue, we hope that people will give us a call and let us know there’s an issue. If you do not notify us at that time and you’re ticketed, then you can call the office and say there’s a meter issue. We’ll send down a technician out to verify that issue. Sometimes there’s not an issue, just an excuse for not paying a ticket.”
If you got a parking ticket and don’t think you were in the wrong, you can go on the company’s website and appeal. But some drivers like Rodger Swann tell KTBS the uncertainty of parking downtown isn’t worth the risk and they’re already finding other places to park.
“How do they know how much to charge me for parking here? I still don’t understand how that works,” said Swann.