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May 16, 2013

An Out for Chicago’s Parking Meter Trouble (cc @RahmEmanuel @ChicagosMayor @AldReilly)

Filed under: Business,Economics,Politics — Chris Chaten @ 10:57 AM

Naturally, the deal Chicago signed for parking deals is a tricky mess. The hourly rates are now up to $6.50 / hr, more than double the rate of just 5 years ago.  The 2008 contract prevents the city from lowering these rates.  So the city gets no revenue, citizens are screwed, and there’ s not much we can do about it.

However, there’s an angle we haven’t explored. All revenue from parking tickets still goes to the city.  While there are provisions that require compensation from the city if roads are closed, meter rates are lowered, or inventory is reduce, there are no provisions that limit the rate of a parking ticket fine.  So what can the city do?

Chicago should drastically lower the fine for expired meters.

This may seem counterintuitive, as it’s the only residual revenue source. But if we drop the  price from the current $65 to $5 – 10, anyone parking over an hour wouldn’t have much incentive to feed the meter. If they do get ticketed, the city pockets the revenue.

This would greatly increase the volume of tickets, so revenue would likley be hit only marginally.  And it creates a perfect incentive for Chicago Parking Meters, LLC to re-open the contract, as the meter revenue would plunge.

-Chris

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