Toronto

Ford opposes parking ticket court fee

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he opposes the imposition of a $12.75 fee on people who fight parking tickets in court and are found guilty.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he opposes the imposition of a $12.75 fee on people who fight parking tickets in court and are found guilty.

City staff issued a report on Tuesday calling for the fee, saying many drivers who request a trial date do not actually intend to fight the ticket, but are simply hoping for a reduction in their fine.

"I can't really say I agree with that report. I have to ask staff about it, and that's what I'm going to be doing," Ford told reporters Wednesday.

"I think people should have the right to fight their tickets in court. I think they should not be penalized for doing that ... it might be perceived as a cash grab and I do not support cash grabs."

In most cases, the fine is significantly cut when the driver pleads guilty. The average reduction is 50 per cent of the original amount of the ticket.

"An unintended financial incentive has been created for ticket recipients to request a trial for a parking ticket even if they do not intend to dispute the ticket," the report said.

The number of drivers requesting trial dates has risen sharply in recent years. In 2004 only about 2.5 per cent of drivers requested trials. That number rose to 11 per cent last year.

The report will be debated at council's government management next Tuesday.