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Evanston, Wyo. Parking Fines Double as Revenue Decreases

City installs credit-card capable meters. Fewer tickets are issued. Revenue goes down. Parking fines double. This is the scenario in Evanston, Wyoming, reports chicagotribune.com.

To make up for revenue lost at parking meters, Evanston officials recently voted unanimously to increase parking ticket fines from $10 to $20.

As a consumer, I think this is unfair – kind of like moving the goal posts during a play. The credit card capable meters make it easier to pay, so people comply. They pay. They pay the right amount and they pay it on time. These are good behaviors and result in good outcomes. A drastic increase in fines seems punitive.

For the city, the decreased revenue is a loss, and has nothing to do with fair or unfair. In the balance between collecting income from fees and fines, the fines are more profitable. I wonder if Evanston officials ran the numbers before they upgraded their meters.

Evanston has another issue with its parking enforcement – collecting fines. A vote taken in July to double fines was postponed following a suggestion that parking officials bulk up their budget by collecting unpaid fines.

But at that time, aldermen who make up the city’s Administration and Public Works Committee, which reviewed the proposal, said Evanston should instead concentrate on collecting the $2 million to $5 million currently owed in outstanding tickets.

Overall, it’s a positive that the city is actively address its parking policy. I have no doubt a sensible approach will be found. But it’s a good idea to consider that better technology can be better for the user than it is for the operator.

Read the article here.

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