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Parking officers sometimes ticket wrong culprits

Some parking enforcement officers are ignoring drivers who are contributing to gridlock while handing out millions in fines each year to people who stay too long in legal parking spots, a CBC investigation has revealed.

Some parking enforcement officers are ignoring drivers who are contributing to gridlock while handing out millions in fines each year to people who stay too long in legal parking spots, a CBC investigation has revealed.

The CBC's John Lancaster found more than a dozen vehicles blocking lanes of traffic while drivers ran into stores on Yonge Street between St. Clair and Bloor streets but none had tickets.

Lancaster also saw an enforcement officer go right by another vehicle that was parked illegally in a moving lane of traffic and turn up a residential street to distribute tickets to those parked in legal spots with expired meters.

It is those drivers who are contributing to gridlock said Van Hurdle, a civil engineer.

"You have two lanes, you cut that down to one, you move half as much traffic," he said.

Lancaster also observed parking officers blocking traffic themselves, sometimes for as long as an hour.

When CBC showed these incidents to David Shiner, vice-chair of the city's public works and infrastructure committee, the Toronto councilor said more needs to be done to focus on drivers who are blocking traffic.

"We have to be more aggressive targeting those people, and a little less aggressive against those people's whose meters have been expired for five minutes," he said.

Shiner also said an enforcement officer driving by a vehicle who had parked illegally in a moving lane of traffic was just "wrong."

Parking enforcement officers generate around $80 million in revenue for the city every year and they do have a daily quota — at least 63 tickets a day. Those who distribute more can also earn bonuses, including a day's extra pay.

For Paul Georgadis the tickets are simply a cash grab. He got a $60 ticket after putting money in the meter all day because he was just a few minutes late getting to his vehicle.

"This is like Robin Hood stealing, that's what it is," he said. "It's stealing from taxpayers, we're not illegally parked here."

In June, the Toronto Board of Trade said gridlock is the greatest threat to economic prosperity and costs the region $6 billion annually.

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