DC Parking-ticket Revenue Down, Even as Fees Rise

WASHINGTON — It seems only logical that higher parking meter rates and higher parking-ticket fines in D.C. would generate more revenue for the city. But the District’s parking-ticket revenue in fiscal 2016 was down nearly $20 million over the previous year, said John Townsend with AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Townsend said that the number of parking tickets issued in D.C. dropped from 1.6 million to 1.5 million. That continues a decline that has gone on for seven years, and Townsend attributes it to smart meters.

“Since implementation of the Park Mobile system, we’ve seen parking tickets decline,” he said, but that last year’s loss was “the biggest drop we’ve ever seen.”

D.C. is one of the most popular places for smartphone parking apps, Townsend said, and the city boasts that it has the most successful and largest pay-by-phone parking meter technology in the country. But all that technology is one of the reasons for a drop in parking tickets, and thus the drop in revenue.

Townsend said people also use technology to help fight the parking tickets that they do get. People are snapping pictures with their smartphones in order to contest possibly erroneous parking citations, and they can go online once a ticket has been issued and examine Ticpix images to determine the accuracy of their citations.

The current fiscal year is on track to be another bad one for parking ticket revenue in D.C., Townsend said. Even so, since fiscal year 2010 D.C. has raked in nearly $586 million in parking ticket revenue.

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