To Boot or to Ticket?

Everyone knows that it’s not ideal to get your car booted. In fact, it’s expensive – especially for the violator. However, booting isn’t the only option to handle enforcement issues. Many private operators and cities are having to weigh in on the pro’s and con’s of booting versus ticketing. Which is really the best enforcement option?

Let’s break it down.

Booting Pros

When it comes to parking enforcement, many private operators would rather not deal with the hassle of hand writing tickets — instead, they’d rather boot vehicles. For one, it can be easy. Enforcement officers just need to notify their partner towing company to come and install the boot. For the officer, there’s little work to do. No ticket writing, no hassle of looking up the parker’s information, and overall not much work. Pretty easy, right?

Another perk of adding the infamous boot on vehicles is the fact that there are 100% collections on parking violations. Since no one is going to leave their vehicle on the side of the road with a boot attached, they’re most likely going to pay for the citation, meaning the city or operator will receive the revenue immediately. However, on the contrary, they have to pay the booting company. For the booting company, it’s a win. They get part of the profit since they did the work.

Booting Cons

Clearly, booting isn’t ideal for the violator. That’s a given. For one, it’s extremely expensive for parkers to have the boot removed from their vehicle. Also, parkers have to wait for the booting company to come and remove the boot since they cannot remove the device (see how the Barnacle enforcement option can actually be removed by the parker)– sometimes this can take up to an hour. Booting can also cause damage to a violator’s car, opening up legality issues.  

Overall, the process is expensive, time consuming, and not aesthetically pleasing. Seeing a boot attached to vehicles in a particular parking lot, for example, makes parker’s reconsider using that specific lot, which can decrease traffic and revenue for the city or operation.

Ticketing Cons

If your parking operations choose to not implement booting, ticketing is another option to handle enforcement. Although ticketing is more aesthetically pleasing than the latter, it does not necessarily mean that tickets will be paid off as quickly as cities and operators would like. Typically, payment collection on tickets take longer than booting. It’s not all that surprising considering that violators who receive a ticket still have the luxury of operating the vehicle immediately after.

“A downside of only ticketing is that payment collection rates are typically lower than operations with a more forced compliance tool,” said Chris Watt, Client Success Manager of Passport. “However the increased efficiencies of writing tickets and manpower offsets payment collection, which opens up the door to drive revenues without the negative connotation of booting. ”

Ticketing Pros

With the implementation of mobile payment, in-app citation payment is possible with Passport’s mobile solution. If users have the option to pay for their citation immediately through their smartphone, collection rates will likely increase. For instance, with the launch of ParkOmaha’s in-app citation payment, in-app payments went from 8% to over 12% of total payments, with an overall 40% of payments being made through a mobile device. Not only is this a positive for the city or operation, but it’s also convenient for the user. The city is seeing 25% of all payments made either day of or day after the ticket is issued.

Another benefit: it’s more aesthetically pleasing. With the boot, it’s not the prettiest sight on streets and parkers are less likely to park in a lot if they see a booted vehicle, which decreases revenue and potentially gaining loyal customers.

Ticketing also opens up a new window for data analysis. An operator can see where tickets are being issues, what routes their officers take, and what are the most common violation types. With an efficient way to pay for parking and citations there is a drive in revenue without creating a “negative cloud” around the parking operation. For example, the City of Boston, MA has decreased its tickets issued by 10% in the last year, but offset that with an increase in 11% in meter revenue.

When it comes to booting versus ticketing, make sure your organization weighs the pros and cons for each. Think about the best practices for your organization — to drive revenue, as well as gain loyal customers. Make sure you’re implementing the best option for your operations.