Hate paying for that parking ticket?
Parking tickets have long been an accepted stress of urban living. The threat of getting a ticket is always looming: Where did I park? Do I need to move my car? Is today street cleaning? How much time is left on the meter? Today, cash-poor cities are increasingly issuing parking tickets in an effort to increase revenues. This can be incredibly frustrating for you and hard on your wallet. We put together a few tips to help you avoid these tickets!
Parking ticket survey: Bay Area
According to a survey we conducted at the end of 2017, residents in the Bay Area get an average of 2.8 parking tickets per year. The fee for a street cleaning violation in San Francisco is now $73. That means that on average residents are paying $219 per year in San Francisco. That’s a lot! We can think of a ton of other ways you’d rather spend that money. So here are 4 tips to help you avoid having to pay a parking ticket this year.
Tip #1: pay the meter
This is obvious, but it’s the most common reason for a ticket. You decided to run into the store quickly, leave your flashers on, and not pay the meter. In many urban retail areas, the parking enforcers are just waiting for folks like you. A minute later they’re at your car putting a ticket under your wipers.
Our advice: Dip in your credit card and put a little bit of time on the meter, even if it’s only a few minutes.
Tip #2: set street cleaning reminders
The second most common reason for getting a ticket is for street cleaning. Maybe you slept in or just completely forgot to read the signs. Meanwhile, it was your weekly or monthly street cleaning and enforcement came by and gave you a ticket.
The good news: This is easy to avoid, especially in your residential area. Set yourself a recurring calendar reminder. In fact, we’ll set it up for you for free: Just put in your home or work address here. Once you do, you’ll receive a notification every time you have street cleaning.
Tip #3: take a photo of the pay-by-phone number
A growing number of cities have electronic payment options, including a pay-by-phone number. The pay-by-phone option allows you to add time remotely. If you’re in a meeting that’s running late, instead of running back to the car, just add more time using your phone!
Our advice: When you park at a meter and there’s a pay-by-phone option, snap a photo of the number. If you’re in a pinch or running late, you can look up the number and call in to add more time.
Tip #4: pay on time
This is not actually a tip to avoid getting a ticket, but it is still super important. Another finding from our survey was that people often ended up paying a lot more than the original parking ticket. The reason? Forgetting to pay! You stick the ticket in your glove box and forget about it for months or longer. Most cities increase the fines after a certain number of days, so that $73 ticket could increase to $146. So, pay on time!
Our advice: Pay right when you get your ticket. Or if you’re reading this and have a ticket somewhere, pay now! You can pay your ticket directly here for hundreds of cities across the US.
- Put money on the meter even if you’re just leaving your car for 5 minutes
- Set yourself a street cleaning reminder
- Take a photo of the pay-by-phone option
- And pay your ticket on time
Any other parking tips or strategies we missed? Let us know on our Facebook page. And if you found this helpful, feel free to share!