Prepaid Parking Tickets — Good Idea or No?

Here’s a reporter who has come up with what he thinks is a good idea. Pay your parking tickets in advance. He starts with some assumptions.

1. Many people get a bunch of parking tickets a year. Its one of the costs of living in a city.

2. Those people get tickets because they want the convenience of parking close, and are willing to risk the fine to do so.

So he says, why not market to those people. Assuming that the fine is $50 and a person gets an average of 10 tickets a year, why not sell a permit for $500 that allows people to park wherever they want (not red zones, but legitimate spaces) whenever they want. He believes many would pay the fee rather than go to the trouble of getting tickets and getting fined. (Ok the number may vary but he says that’s up to math wizards to compute.) Neat idea, huh?

I guess if you think that the only reason for parking rules is to collect money its fine. However if you think they are for managing the parking resource, then this makes no sense. Are you looking for turnover, are you looking to provide on street space or fill off street lots? Are you answering a request from a neighborhood to prevent students from a nearby university from parking on their streets? Are you trying to prevent employees from parking in front of a store and taking space from customers? (After all $40 a month to park in front of you office isn’t very much.)

If parking fees are simply a tax, why not just charge every car owner an additional $500 a year and let them park where they please. Think of how convenient that would be — can you say Delhi.

As an industry we have done a horrible job of explaining why parking rules are important, what they accomplish, and why enforcement is necessary. This relatively intelligent, well read, involved writer has no clue.

OH, and his idea to give you a free parking tickets for every five paid on time — I think the idea should be to take the person’s driving privileges away for a week if they get five parking tickets.



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One Response to Prepaid Parking Tickets — Good Idea or No?

  1. Keith says:

    Don’t confuse the reporter with facts. He’s not a professional in the parking industry, but he’s got a solution. Get him in the suggestion line with the others.

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