Brent Iachetta

Brent Iachetta

Trail’s ticketing system paying dividends

A new parking system in Trail has automatically led to an additional 1,000 violation tickets being issued this year compared to 2012.

A new parking system in Trail has automatically led to an additional 1,000 violation tickets being issued this year compared to 2012.

“With respect to tickets issued in 2013, to date we issued 7,856 tickets compared to 6,838 in 2012,” said Michelle McIsaac, the city’s corporate administrator.

“This is recognizing that we had a two-month period without a parking meter attendant that could account for part of that difference.”

At the Nov. 12 governance meeting, McIsaac reviewed her report of operations and bylaw enforcement that included further details about the new automated parking management system.

To date, total revenues associated with parking operations are just above $300,000, compared to $270,000 in 2012.

Overall, the city pulled in over $180,000 from meter revenue, fines and tickets, and parking fees since January, compared to $155,000 in 2012 during the same time period.

Another bonus to the automated system is that the city has realized a significant improvement in the voluntary collection recovery of parking fines, according to McIsaac.

“For violations issued in the new system, records indicate that approximately 75 per cent have been paid,” she explained.

“Comparatively, the recovery rate previously was 42 per cent in 2012.”

In 2012, the city was owed almost $43,000 in unpaid fines, and after much study and review, council decided to bring in the boot.

The city’s traffic bylaw was amended in February to give the bylaw enforcement officer authority to seize a vehicle using a boot device.

The boot apparatus immobilizes vehicles with an accumulation of unpaid parking tickets, and to date, has been used on six vehicles.

Although a $75 fee must be paid at city hall before the vehicle is released, that doesn’t mean that those chronic offenders are more compliant just yet.

“Not all have taken steps to pay their outstanding tickets,” said McIsaac.

“So there are some who could be subject to the boot again.”

The city rolled out the new system, a $45,000 capital project, when it was realized that Trail was in need of a more efficient system that would help crack down on chronic parking violators.

The point-of-infraction system allows a bylaw officer to enter relevant information into the computer on site, where it is automatically uploaded to the city’s database.

This does away with the attendant’s need to rush back to city hall and re-enter their findings, making for a more efficient approach to ticketing.

“The system has provided great improvements in efficiencies for staff because they are out in the field and don’t have to come back to city hall to duplicate their time doing data entry,” said McIsaac.

Less time in data entry means the parking meter attendant has more time for rounds and to enforce the two-hour time limits at metered stalls.

“This has been effective in getting the message out,” explained McIsaac. “Mostly to those who work in the downtown that it’s not okay to be parking at the meters for extended periods,” she said. “And to ensure that those stalls are available to clients of the downtown.”

In the downtown metered zones, violation notices are commonly issued for expired parking meters, over parking in a time zone, parking in a lane, loading zone or no parking zone or parking without a valid ticket displayed.

The cost of fines vary, though most start at $5, with as much as a $35 ticket for parking in a handicap zone.