A new way of handing out parking tickets is bringing in millions of dollars in revenue for the city, but drivers are questioning whether it’s a valid tactic, or just a cash grab.
Up until this past August, parking officers had to place a bright yellow ticket on your windshield for the charge to be valid. But since then, parking enforcement officers have had a new tool at their disposal – the mail. Officials have been sending out 4,000 to 5,000 “drive away” tickets a month.
All a parking enforcement officer needs is a licence plate and the model of the vehicle to issue a ticket.
It will say “drove away” in the top corner and it comes with an additional $10 fee on top of the fine.
Drivers CityNews spoke had mixed reactions.
“It’s fair for the municipality to do that, absolutely when the infraction is just, but at the same time, it opens up a whole can of worms,” says Carmine Ciofani.
“You don’t know where the parking officer came from, so it could be that you just pulled up, stopped for a second, and drove off, and they’ve issued you a ticket,” adds John Buffett.
Anthony Fabrizi, manager of revenue services for utility and parking operations at the City of Toronto, said it’s a valid form of ticketing and that the extra $10 fee is justifiable.
“If we find you parked illegally, and the officer can capture the information, we can send a ticket to you,” he said. “The municipality is charged a fee by the Ministry of Transportation to retrieve the [car ownership] information,” explains Fabrizi. “The extra charge is really a cost recovery, and the municipality doesn’t make any extra money.”
The city says the average fine for a parking ticket in Toronto is $53. Officials expect to issue 60,000 drive-away parking tickets this year alone, bringing in $3.1 million in fines.
The city says drive-away tickets are meant to protect parking enforcement officers from being clipped by cars that try and drive away.
The Toronto Police Service says there were 45 assaults on parking officers in 2017, including 24 assaults between January and May of last year. For the same period of time this year, there have been nine assaults. It’s not clear if those charges stemmed from drivers trying to evade a ticket.