Parking violation

In our most recent issue of Link Magazine, we offered up a parking primer to new students. One of the things we covered in that piece was the allegations of ‘bogus’ tickets issued by Impark to students here on campus. It’s an issue we’ve covered in Link in the past. We stand by our reporting that students have reported this issue, however, I must be forthright in admitting that our choice of language (“Impark, who run the lots, are known to issue bogus tickets”) was overly strong. There are allegations to this effect only.

We recently spoke with Robert Perkins, BCIT’s Safety and Security Coordinator who took issue with the allegation of malfeasance on the part of parking officials, and offered a different perspective on how these disputed tickets come about. According to Perkins, before an Impark official issues a ticket they must take a series of steps first:

  • Run the plate number to check for epermit payment
  • Run a paid stall report from the parking kiosk meters if pay-by-stall is available in that lot
  • Check the windshield area for payment i.e. a meter receipt
  • Document via two photos both the vehicle plate and it’s windshield area, proving there is no payment

So then, how to account for the disputed tickets?

Perkins explains them thusly:

“On closer inspection, 99.9% of them fall into one of three categories: 1) Entered the wrong license plate on their epermit 2) Parked where they were not supposed to, i.e. a staff lot before 4:30PM, or 3) Paid for their stall at a meter not associated to their lot. (Impark runs the stall report I mention above in bullet #2. Stall then comes up unpaid at that kiosk, because the student has decided to walk halfway across campus and pay at another meter that does not service their lot, despite clear signage saying to pay at their lot.)”

Let’s leave aside for today the question of whether our parking system is perhaps a bit too complicated if it can result in so many disputed violations. That’s a bigger question for another day, and for the school’s administration- not the people who work the lots day in and day out. Like you and I, these guys work day jobs. They are not villains – and it would be unfair to suggest otherwise.

So whether or not a disputed ticket comes as a result of an error on the part of an Impark employee or a student, Perkins had some pretty good advice on how to solve the problem quickly. Hint: it’s not calling customer service at Impark. He says the fastest way to eliminate a disputed ticket (provided you did actually pay, you sneaky sneak) is to go directly to the Campus Safety and Security office and talk to them. They can connect you with the Lot Manager who can often, right then and there, void the ticket… again, providing we’re dealing with a legitimate error.

So- moral of the story? Still hang on to your receipt, kids, because it could save you big bucks if you find yourself in a dispute. And before you rage at the parking guy, remember we sleepy students sometimes make mistakes too.

Before turning to journalism, Simon dabbled in many things. He earned an honours degree in political science, and still treats elections as if they’re the playoffs. He nearly started a brewery, and remains a committed beer geek with a well-stocked cellar of vintage brews. He was a cycling activist, who co-founded East Van Bike Polo and once pedalled from Amsterdam to Istanbul. He was (okay, still is) a big ol' nerd who loves pulp film and science fiction. Now, he writes about these things and others. And he's committed to bringing you one fine magazine all year long.

midnightsimon@gmail.com