The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

District’s parking ticket revenue drops

(Michael Williamson/The Washington Post)

If you’re a District taxpayer you may be delighted that the city is gaining revenue without reaching into your pocket. If you’ve received a parking ticket, however, you’re probably not happy that the city is making money by reaching into your pocket.

And your vantage point likely will dictate how you view the fact that the District issued nearly 85,000 fewer tickets in fiscal 2013 than it did the year before, according to records compiled by the AAA.

“With fewer reports of broken parking meters and more drivers going coin-less with the Pay By Phone Parking program and mobile app, the District issued 84,936 fewer parking citations in FY 13 [fiscal year 2013] than it did in FY 12 [fiscal year 12], a decrease of 4.5 percent,” said John B. Townsend II of AAA.

He said the District issued 1,808,587 parking tickets in the year that ended Sept. 30.

“As one would imagine, the District issued parking tickets at a phenomenal pace last year equal to nearly three times the city’s estimated populace of 646,449 persons,” Townsend II said. “That’s three parking tickets for every man, woman and child in the city.  It’s the upshot of high demand for far too few spaces and the confusing signage that bedevils drivers.”

The District has 17,000 parking meters. Parking ticket revenue last year amounted to $84,458,255, an average of at least $278,740 each business day. In contrast, the income was $90,610,266 the previous year. 

Townsend said the District issued 393,340 parking tickets in the first six months of the current fiscal year, with a face value of $25,348,683.

“More drivers in the region are relying upon technology, including mobile phone apps, to find and to pay for parking,” said Townsend. “It is emerging as one of the biggest factors contributing to the drop in parking ticket violations and revenue across the metro area.”