DC is issuing more tickets … and making more money

Many people who park on the streets of D.C. have probably kept a close eye on the clock and dashed out to “feed the meter.” But an expired meter may not be why you’ll find a dreaded pink-and-white slip on your windshield.

But did you realize getting a parking ticket at certain types of meters in the District of Columbia cost 66% more than tickets at other meters?

AAA Mid-Atlantic said in a news release that parking enforcement officers are issuing more tickets for failing to display a multispace meter receipt (you may have seen this as “FAIL DISP MULTI RECPT”).

While the number of old school single-space meters dwarfs the number of solar-powered multi-space meters, the number of tickets written and the amount of revenue collected from the new meters tops the District’s parking violations, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic, in data obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request.

Drivers parked at multispace meters in the District are required to place a receipt on the passenger side dashboard, to display the period of time paid for, similar to the time remaining shown on a single-space meter. Or, drivers can pay by smartphone app, and avoid the need to display a receipt.

The total number of tickets issued in 2018 was 1,417,001. In 2017, it was 1,387,006. That translates into $61.5 million in parking ticket revenue for 2018, which is up a little from $60.7 million in 2017, AAA Mid-Atlantic said.

So, in 2018, the District issued about 4,700 parking tickets a day, or an average of 319 tickets per parking enforcement hour.

For 2019, as of March 31, the District has issued 656,743 tickets and generated $22,611,119.

Tickets issued and revenue for D.C. hit a high in 2011 with 1,984,682 tickets and $91,362,271. Those numbers were on the decline until 2018.

The total pulled in from 2010 to 2019, from more than 15.7 million tickets issued, was $730,385,153.

That equates to two parking tickets for every city resident. And there are about 182 different ways or reasons that people can get a ticket, much to the dismay of drivers.

D.C. has some 15,000 meters and approximately 13,000 are single-space parking meters.

However, “(c)itations incurred at multispace meters are $50. Since they are $20 (or 66.6%) more expensive than the $30 tickets handed down at ‘old school’ or conventional single-space parking meters, the transition in the nature and categorization of citations is propping up the city’s parking ticket revenue,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John B. Townsend II.

Failure to display a multispace meter receipt has eclipsed the number of expired meter violations and is currently the leading reason for getting a parking ticket.

AAA Mid-Atlantic said some drivers get this type of ticket due to common mistakes, such as placing the receipt facedown on the dashboard or placing it on the driver’s side instead of the passenger side. And sometimes, the receipt just fluttered out of the dashboard as the car door was closed.

WTOP’s Will Vitka and Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

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