DC parking-ticket revenue drops, even as fees rise

WASHINGTON — The District’s parking-ticket revenue in fiscal 2016 dropped nearly $20 million over the previous year, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

AAA’s John Townsend said that the number of parking tickets issued in D.C. dropped from 1.6 million to 1.5 million tickets last year. That continues a decline that has gone on for seven years, and which Townsend attributes it to smart meters.

“Since implementation of the Park Mobile system, we’ve seen parking tickets decline,” he said. But that last year’s loss was “the biggest drop we’ve ever seen.”

D.C. is one of the most popular places for smartphone parking apps, Townsend said, and the city boasts that it has the most successful and largest pay-by-phone parking meter technology in the country.

But all that technology is one of the reasons for the drop in parking tickets, and thus the drop in ticket revenue.

Townsend said people also use technology to help fight the parking tickets that they do get. People are snapping pictures with their smartphones in order to contest possibly erroneous parking citations, and they can go online once a ticket has been issued and examine Ticpix images to determine the accuracy of their citations.

The current fiscal year is on track to be another bad one for parking ticket revenue in D.C., Townsend said. Even so, since fiscal year 2010, D.C. has raked in nearly $586 million in parking ticket revenue.

In October 2015, the District raised the fines for parking tickets by $5 in premium demand zones and for illegally parked in vehicles in residential areas.

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