Parking violators warned to pay up or get the boot

Posted at 6:36 PM, Feb 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-27 18:36:45-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Richmond city leaders are warning thousands of drivers with unpaid parking tickets to “avoid getting the boot!”

An all-out blitz is about to happen in month, starting April 1, says Sharon North with Richmond's Department of Public Works.

The city has a relatively new parking vendor, Standard Parking. The company comes with some new technology that the city never had before. CBS 6 News rode along in the Standard Parking van that will patrol city streets searching for violators with multiple unpaid tickets.

North says the van costs about $60,000 and the city is also planning to purchase a second one. In it, there's a laptop and a camera that aids the driver as they patrol the city. The device zeroes in on car license tags-- much like what's used when drivers cruise through the tolls using an Easy Pass.

Diaz says it's not a matter of if, but when, they'll spot a car with unpaid tickets. We spotted a few during our ride-along. The driver tells us finding said car isn’t difficult,  there are 64,000 outstanding tickets on the city's books.

About 3,500 cars have at least three unpaid tickets, according to North. Those 3,500 cars are responsible for 16,0000 unpaid tickets.

If claimed, that could bring a whopping $3.9 million dollars to the city. North says that's what prompted their "Don't Get the Boot" campaign.

The money recouped will go into the city's General Fund.

"It's important to recoup the money but it's equally as important to get people to comply with the parking regulations that are set forth "  North explained.

Driver Danny Falwell says he can see why so many drivers get tickets.

"It is a real pain in the butt to find a good parking spot", Falwell said. He told CBS 6 News that too many people take chances parking in restricted areas and end up with tickets on their cars.

"But, they ball them up and put them in the glove box or throw them in the trash. They try to act like it didn't happen so then they act all surprised when they get a phone call or more letters," he explained.

North said that during this blitz, they're going to boot cars with three or more unpaid tickets.

The violator will have to pay the fine, plus $60 to get the boot removed from their vehicle.

She says it won't be like the booting done in the past. Previously a driver would pay the fine and be given a code to put in on the boot,and that would unlock it. Now, North says the person will pay the fine and then have to wait about 45 minutes for a person to come and remove it from the car.

The city is giving those with unpaid tickets a small window to take care of the fines. If you press your luck and don't do it by the April 1 deadline, you could end up with a new car accessory that you certainly won't like.

To find out if you have any unpaid parking tickets, North says you can call 646-5700.