Chicago Parking App Wrongly Tickets 300-Plus Drivers

317 drivers received tickets they didn't deserve since ParkChicago app became available

More than 300 people who used the new ParkChicago mobile app to pay for city parking have received erroneous tickets since the app became available.

The app, expanded in May to include all of Chicago's 36,000 parking meters, allows drivers to pay for parking via cell phone instead of retrieving a receipt from meter boxes to place on their dashboard.

John Maravilla was one of the drivers who was erroneously charged after parking a friend's car on June 30. He said his friend called him an hour later to tell him he received a ticket.

"I was angry because it was $65. It's a hefty ticket," Maravilla said.

Scott Burnham, a spokesman for Chicago Parking Meters LLC, said that of the 81,868 expired meter tickets issued since the app was put into place, 317 drivers received tickets they didn't deserve. 

The company said part of the problem stems from connectivity issues for those issuing tickets, as well as a training issue with law enforcement.

With the app, users pre-load an account with at least $20 to get started, then parking fees are subtracted once a license plate number and parking zone are inputted.

The service also sends a text message to the phone about 10 minutes before time runs out on a meter. Additional time can be purchased with just a few taps.

Burnham said such erroneous ticketing is not unusual and has happened in other cities. The company is working with Verizon to address connection issues, he said.

Anyone who received a ticket after paying for the app can call 877-242-7901 or the city of Chicago and have it removed over the phone.

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