They're Baaack! Ticketing Returns After Meter Snafu

Some pay-and-display meter boxes not working; police told not to issue tickets

Police officers received orders to resume ticketing Wednesday afternoon after an issue earlier in the day with pay-and-display meter boxes left many motorists frustrated.

Motorists were reportedly paying for their spots, but the boxes weren't printing receipts that are to be displayed on dashboards.  Some resorted to leaving notes on their dashes instead.

The private company that assumed operations of the city's paid parking spots sent out crews to fix problems affecting roughly 23 percent of the 556 pay boxes in the city, according to City Budget Department spokesman Pete Scales.

A Chicago Sun-Times check of parking boxes around the Loop earlier Wednesday found multiple boxes that weren’t working along West Washington. However, some were working on Wells and Franklin.

Attorney Roy Olson, 47, of Worth parked on Washington near the Daley Center to go to court. When he tried to pay, there was a flashing light and a message that read, "Please pay at another station." But there wasn’t another one working nearby.

Olson said that he worries about how successful a citizen would be in challenging a parking ticket, if the meter was broken.

James Daras, 35, of Chicago, who parked his Chevrolet pickup on the 300 block of West Washington, called the number on the meter to report it broken so he could avoid a ticket. He said he doesn’t like the new meters.

"It’s not good at all, because it doesn’t work and it’s expensive," said Daras. Meter prices downtown have increased to $3.50 from $3 an hour.

LAZ Parking, which is operating the meters for Chicago Parking Meters, got calls about inoperable meters between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, and sent out 15 crews to address the issue, according to the mayor’s office.

Mayor Daley acknowledged last week that City Hall had botched the privatization of the city’s 36,000 parking meters by not transferring meters to the contractor more gradually.


The Chicago Sun-Times' Mary Wisniewski and Fran Spielman contributed to this report.

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