For a city that claims parking and speeding tickets are all
about smooth traffic movement and public safety, there sure is a lot of concern
about the increasing number of cancelled parking tickets.
My city hall colleague Dave Rider reported Thursday that
633,108 parking tickets – about one-quarter of all tickets issued in 2012 –
were cancelled at the counters of parking tag operations offices, or in court.
The number of cancellations is up almost 140,000, or 5.5 per
cent, from 2011, according to a staff report prepared for city council’s
government management committee.
If you were to subtract 25 per cent from the
$94 million value of all parking tickets issued in 2012, it adds up to more
than $23 million.
But the city and our police still maintain that the revenue
is incidental to the issuing of tickets.
Then why the hand-wringing about lost revenue? You can bet
that the discussion at the next meeting of the government management committee
will focus on the money, rather than the fairness of the system.
Here’s another bet: Somebody will propose that something
needs to be done to stem the tide of cancelled tickets. After all, people are
being paid to issue a lot of tickets that are not netting money.
One of the, uh, problems is the increase in the grace period
for overtime parking, from five to 10 minutes, which I have written about
several times. The other reason is that the public is now much better informed
about the grounds for cancellation.
It is only fair that people know the rules and use them to
their advantage. It’s among the reasons why we’ve been pushing to have the
grace period extended by parking enforcement officers, instead of making people
jump through hoops to cancel a ticket issued within 10 minutes of the expiry of
As for the reasons why radar speed traps have flourished in
the past half-dozen years or so, check out my Tuesday column and Wednesday
blog. It’s a money grab, and nothing more.
But when the city is always short of dough, taxes by another
name will surely be imposed.
Watch where you park, and keep your foot on the brake when
descending a long hill.