It is no secret that people do not like getting a parking ticket, much less paying one.
No one knows that than the parking enforcement officers who issue hundreds of those tickets every day.
“I’ve never had a situation where somebody is like, ‘Oh thank you for coming around and ticketing me for this illegal violation,’” said Pame La Ashford, who oversees parking enforcement in Dallas. “A day doesn’t go by where my officers are not literally verbally accosted on the street for literally just doing their job.”
In addition to the verbal assaults, parking violators too often are not paying their fines.
The City of Dallas is owed more than $5,000,000 in unpaid parking citations from just the past fiscal year, despite an increased effort to crack down on those who do not pay their tickets.
The total dollar amount of parking tickets issued in Fiscal Year 2016-2017 in Dallas was $9,424,915, but as of October 1, 2017 $5,127,535 of that amount remains unpaid.
The number of cars to either be booted or towed has increased exponentially in just the last two years, according to the head of Parking Management Services.
During the fiscal year that ran from October 2016 to September 2017, Dallas put boots on 762 vehicles and towed even more – 1,098 vehicles were towed to the city impound lot. That is exactly a rate of three vehicles towed per day, on average.
Those actions are in addition to the 127,680 citations that were issued over that same time period, a rate of 348 tickets every day. Those citations carry with them an average fine of $45.
Three unpaid citations can result in a vehicle being booted, and once a boot has been placed on a vehicle Parking Management is authorized to tow the vehicle within 24 hours.
“In the past the city had always tried to be customer service-friendly with an understanding of when somebody does something wrong to you, you own it and you take responsibility for that,” said Pame La Ashford, the Program Manager for Parking Management Services. “Well more and more we were getting people who were trying to find ways to avoid that responsibility.”
“It transitions into, ‘Well I see this person [avoiding payment]. Why should I [pay]?’ So to eliminate that, and to make sure we’re having a positive impact on the areas that we are responsible for, we’re taking things to another measure which means that we are increasing the booting and the towing activity,” Ashford said.