News 4 Investigates: Errors occur in St. Louis' new parking syst - KMOV.com

News 4 Investigates: Errors occur in St. Louis' new parking system

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Some drivers are receiving parking tickets they do not deserve (Credit: KMOV). Some drivers are receiving parking tickets they do not deserve (Credit: KMOV).

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) - The City of St. Louis recently paid millions to upgrade its parking system.

So, why after paying for a spot, do some people still get a ticket during their allotted time in?

“I looked down at my ticket and saw that it was issued four minutes after I paid,” said Ellie Wilhelm, who received a parking ticket.

Wilhelm made sure she paid for the right spot downtown and even tucked her receipt in the windshield.

“I kind of trusted the system, you know,” said Jenny Yedvobnick, who also received a parking ticket.

Yedvobnick also got slapped with a ticket she didn't deserve.

“I also don't want to give them $15 when I followed the rules,” said Yedvobnick.

The cost to feed to meter has gone up since 2015 and so has the fine on tickets. That has led to the Treasurer’s Office to take in close to $10 million last fiscal year. Some aldermen were even criticizing the treasurer on the recent rise in parking revenue and spending.

Treasurer Tishaura Jones, who manages the parking system, said in May the system is supposed to be more convenient.

“We are making it easier to pay, they can pay with the app, credit card or by the coin and people love the app,” said Jones. 

Nearly every single one of the 7,700 parking spaces in the city has been upgraded in 2016.

Some of the new free-standing meters, which take credit cards, cost about $500 each. The kiosks that service several spaces cost close to $6,000. The total price tag for the system upgrade is $5 million.

Jones was more than willing to talk to News 4 in the past about the new computerized system, but after asking for several weeks in September to speak to her on camera about parking ticket errors, her office sent News 4 a statement which read in part:

"Sometimes, due to system glitches or human error, parking tickets are issued erroneously."

News 4 provided four tickets to the Treasurer's Office as examples of errors, including Jenny's and Ellie's. News 4 also submitted erroneous ticket issued to News 4 Reporter Ray Preston and one issued to Investigative Reporter Lauren Trager. 

Three of the four tickets News 4 provided to the Treasurer’s Office as examples of errors were because of a glitch, that is now fixed and the fourth was human error - all were voided through the appeals process.

News 4 requested the total number of tickets tossed out since 2014. She found that of the 315,000 tickets written every year, about 4,000 people choose to fight their tickets with the Parking Violations Bureau each year. Of those only about 25 percent of those tickets are tossed out. The number appears to be about the same number of bad tickets under the new system, as the old.

Full Statement from St. Louis Treasurer's Office:

KMOV originally contacted the City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office claiming “several people” had contacted the station to state they had received parking tickets in error. After asking the KMOV reporter for clarification, we were told that “several people” was four people. Out of those four people, two of them are KMOV reporters, including the reporter who contacted us.

The City of St. Louis Parking Violations Bureau (PVB) issues hundreds of thousands of parking tickets each year. Sometimes, due to system glitches or human error, parking tickets are issued erroneously. However, it should be noted that less than one percent of parking tickets in the United States are issued in error.

Of the four tickets submitted by KMOV, three were due to system errors that have now been corrected. The fourth ticket was due to human error. All four tickets were voided.

Our recently parking technology upgrade makes it easier for customers to pay for parking meters in the City of St. Louis, but it also makes it easier for the PVB to catch and fix ticketing errors in a timely manner. A demonstration on how to use the new parking technology can be found here: www.parklouie.com.

 If customers feel they have received parking tickets in error, they should contact the PVB at 314-450-2830 or by emailing info@parklouie.com.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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