Ian Stewart/Yukon News

Whitehorse parking meter tickets brought in $1.4M since 2014

The city issued more than 62,000 parking meter tickets over the past three and a half years

The City of Whitehorse handed out more than 62,000 parking meter tickets over the past three and a half years, figures from the bylaw services department show.

From 2014 to the end of June 2017, parking meter attendants issued 62,388 tickets to vehicles parked in front of expired or unpaid meters. The tickets brought in more than $1.4 million in fines.

Bylaw services manager Dave Pruden, who’s been with the department for 23 years, said he can’t recall a day when at least one parking ticket wasn’t issued, although weather and staffing impact how many are handed out, he said.

“Any temperature between -15 and plus-30, traffic’s going to be traffic,” he said. “Days of the week, what’s happening in the town, times of year, all those sorts of things play into how many tickets are being issued…. If it’s 40 below, the staff can’t be out there quite as long.”

A colder-than-usual winter and vacancies in the bylaw department in 2017 have contributed to the lower-than-average number of parking meter tickets issued so far this year, Pruden said — as of the end of June, 7,396 had been issued. Officers handed out 17,768 in 2016, 17,236 in 2015 and 19,988 in 2014.

Parking meter tickets make up the overwhelming majority of all parking-related tickets the department hands out — typically, officers will dole out 15,000 to 20,000 a year, compared to about 1,500 tickets for vehicles that stay too long in timed parking zones and 100 for vehicles parked in reserved accessible spots without tags. Other parking violations — parking too close to stop signs or fire hydrants, for example — typically account for another 150 to 300 tickets annually.

Currently, there are two full-time parking meter officers that keep an eye on downtown Whitehorse’s approximately 550 meters, and all bylaw officers have the authority to hand out parking tickets when they see fit. Officers do not have ticket quotas.

“Their quota is go downtown and walk for their shift and you get what you get,” Pruden said.

Pruden estimated that about 70 per cent of tickets are paid off every year, but noted that although the money is put into the city’s general reserve, that’s not the goal of meter enforcement.

“The purpose for (tickets) isn’t for revenue generation, the purpose of them is for traffic rotation. We’d have people that would park in spots all day long if there isn’t enforcement,” he said.

And parking meter fees bring in more money anyway, he added — drivers dropped more than $585,000 worth of coins into them last year alone.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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