There’s A Better Way of Collecting Outstanding Citations

This post is by: Tom Wiese, Sales Associate at Passport

Getting a parking ticket is less than ideal. Just the sight of a tiny piece of paper on your windshield can make you cringe. Although parking violations are a frustration for the violator, they’re just as much of an issue for the city. Cities are forced to allocate part of their limited staff to collecting citation funds and they are often unsuccessful in their efforts.

Large cities are seeing an extremely large amount of unpaid parking citations and penalties. Since 2007, parking citations have continued to escalate; Chicago has $840 billion, and New York has $756 billion. From 2009 to 2016, Troy, MI, has 1.1 million unpaid citations and penalties. As cities start strategizing different ways to collect unpaid citations, many are getting creative with their efforts.

City officials of Binghampton, NY, published a complete list of all ticket violators and their fees online. Within 9 days, the city had collected $25,000 worth of payments. Some cities are putting holds on registration, booting and towing vehicles with outstanding citations, while others are less brash and are considering the tickets “uncollectable”.

Although parking tickets are annoying for the violator, they can be just as frustrating for the parking enforcement officer. As cities start looking at ways to improve this situation for both parties, they’re implementing a variety of collection methods:

Hosting Amnesty Days

With an abundance of outstanding tickets, many cities are implementing amnesty days. Amnesty days allow parking violators to bring in non-perishable food items to benefit a non-profit. If a ticketer brings in canned goods, they will likely be completely or partially dismissed from their citations.

Take the Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA), for example. They offered parking amnesty days to students to assist with parking fees. Citations were forgiven if students brought in either $5 or five canned goods; however, only 1 ticket would be ‘forgiven’ per person, as well as the ticket had to be less than $20.

Likewise, the mayor of the City of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, included in his 2016 budget proposal an amnesty program to those who have any type of city debt. Emanuel even included the ability to implement a payment plan, specifically for parking tickets. Those who have accrued debt on parking tickets had the option of paying their initial ticket price, rather than the entire accrued amount.

Contest Citations With Mobile App

With the increase in mobile technology, contesting citations through mobile apps is possible.

Although the act of contesting tickets in the courtroom can help lower ticket fees, it can be time consuming. With mobile apps like ‘Fixed’, violators can add a photograph of their ticket, and Fixed will then handle contesting the ticket. If the ticket gets dismissed then the violator will pay Fixed 25% of the fees, however if Fixed loses, the violator will not have to pay. These type of apps allow ticket contesting to be less time consuming. Other web-based services like and ParkingTicketGuys allow users to upload their parking tickets and allow the service to contest tickets.

In-App Mobile Payment Technology

Cities are continuing to offer alternative ways to assist violators with citation payments and ultimately receive their funds. With the the increase in the convenience of mobile payment technology, apps such as Passport’s in-app citation management platform allows users to pay or appeal citations with their mobile device through a single platform. Users have the flexibility to manage citations through their smartphone, while parking enforcement officers have the functionality to connect with parking managers in real-time through a single platform.

Mobile apps like ParkBoston are improving compliance for parking from the beginning by offering notifications when the parker’s session is low on time and gives them the ability to extend their parking session. With these features, it’s less likely for parkers to receive tickets to begin with.

Schedule your citation management demo today!

As more cities embrace alternative options for violators, many are offering helpful options to assist with citation payments. With the progression of mobile payment technology, cities are adopting new ways to create an efficient and convenient process for citation management.