Monday, March 15, 2010

Finally, Clarity for Broken Meters

It's one of the questions that Angelenos probably ponder the most: Are we going to get a ticket for parking at that FAIL parking meter?

Apparently the answer has been "yes" -- particularly for drivers whose meter automatically re-sets back to normal while they're parked there.

But as the L.A. Times reports, tickets aren't supposed to be handed out at a broken meter:

Between 10% and 12% of the city's meters are failing at any given time, according to a recent study by an outside firm.

Amir Sedadi, assistant general manager of the Transportation Department, assured city council members that "the policy of the Department of Transportation is not to issue any citations to broken meters." But in some instances, Sedadi said, broken meters can inexplicably snap back into operation, which could be why some Angelenos have been ticketed.

Last fiscal year, the city issued 550,000 tickets for expired meters. Of those expired meter tickets, 2% were contested, and about 40% of the complaints were deemed to be valid, transportation officials said.

As meters get more expensive, I find that it's also tougher to find enough change to feed the damn thing. That will gradually change as more meters come equipped with a credit card reader.

In the meantime, I wonder this: Do the parking meter folks peek under the bags people stick over failed meters? Or do they take it on faith? Because if that's the case, then I guess I should always have a spare bag in the car.

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