Parking Tickets or City ATM?

What are the real costs of parking tickets? Are you seeing more tickets this year than last? Is there a quota?


If you had to guess how many tickets were issued in the City of Boston in 2011, what would you think?

The answer?  1,324,610.

If you had to guess how many will be issued in 2013, what would you think?

Well, the city has a “target” number of tickets, and that number is 1,450,000!  (City Budget 2013)

So, how is that supported?

There are 197 “parking meter supervisors” for a line item budget of $8,497,003 – that is $43,131 per worker, per year, to write tickets.  At an average of $25 per ticket, that is 1725 tickets per year for each meter supervisor to “break even” on their salary (by levying additional taxes on citizens through fines). 

But, like any good business, the City would like to write more than 1725 tickets per meter supervisor.  In fact, in 2013 they project a total of 1,450,000 tickets.  Taken across 197 supervisors that is 7360 tickets per worker, per year!

To take this further, fines in general are included, and thus depended on, as $65,140,000 in revenue for 2013!  Have you ever thought that they might operate under a quota?  How else could you interpret these facts?

Where does it end?

I would offer a simple solution – private property rights.  The city could auction parking spaces to businesses and residents. 

Ownership of parking by a private entity will ensure their efficient usage.  Newbury street parking?  Solved.  Residential parking? Solved.  Arbitrary parking enforcement by government employees?  Solved.

Additionally, the current “need” to pay parking meter supervisors, clerks, admins (the Assistant Parking Clerk makes $107,091 per year!), and executive assistants (at $111,140 and $100,901), to name a few, would go away.

For Consideration

Under the current system, even non-drivers incur the tax burden to support the beaurocratic structure of the parking department.  Instead of spending money on what they would like to, they are coerced into supporting a blizzard of orange "VIOLATION" envelopes.

While the private property solution is based on sound principles, admittedly, it is a different way of approaching this problem.  However, it takes bold leadership to let the people govern themselves, and I doubt the City Council would let go of a $65 million budget item.

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Rob Allen November 14, 2012 at 02:17 PM
You don't own a car, a business or property. When you run something other than your mouth. Then you can talk. Keep to your bike and your zipcar.
Just a person! November 14, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Are you serious? Auction off parking spots! And, exactly who would get the money? Another idea for "Ridiculous.com"
Roxxma November 14, 2012 at 03:06 PM
It's easy to avoid getting a parking ticket: Pay attention to the signs and don't park illegally, or park on private property. Parking on the public ways is a privilege and the City is under no obligation to provide subsidized storage of private vehicles on public property. Street sweeping is such a "scam" until catch basins and gutters are clogged by trash, leaves & sand and streets, basements and neighborhoods flood. Street sweeping is an important part of regular street maintenance. Check out some side streets that don't get swept as often and see how clean they are. Usually, they are a mess.
bostadelphian November 14, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Your 'simple solution' is pretty simple minded! Read the signs to avoid getting a ticket. I've seen drivers double parked - in FRONT of an empty parking space. Some people don't want to walk a little so they block driveways, block crosswalks, hang out into a cross street and block traffic... So, those with the means can just buy up the parking and those that don't...oh well, too bad!?? Don't bother living in Boston and owning a car as you will have NO place to park once you pull away from your home. What happens when we have a snowstorm? How about the tourists that come, where are they to park? REAL SIMPLE.
j November 14, 2012 at 03:40 PM
First of all, please learn to use proper punctuation. People might take you more seriously. Secondly, you don’t own a car or a residence? I’m pretty sure the title to my car and the deed to my home say otherwise.


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