Meter Maid

Meter Maid


Toronto, ON

Female, 30

I currently work as a Parking Enforcement Officer in the wonderful city of Toronto. I am feared, and loathed by all. I may not work in your particular city, but I'm positive that I can help give you a better understanding of what Meter Maids do. I am knowledgeable in all parking matters so ask me anything.

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103 Questions


Last Answer on September 05, 2013

Best Rated

What's the worst parking violation you've ever encountered? Like someone parking in front of a firehouse or something like that?

Asked by Shawn over 11 years ago

I have seen some interesting "parking" violations in my time. In Toronto, parking in a disabled parking spot is considered the worst violation in terms of cost ($450). This violation would be very inconvenient for individuals who require the spot for better access. It is also important to mention that parking in front of a fire station is also a very bad idea and can affect how fast emergency vehicles can get to a call. I however find that the worst parking violations are those that are obstructing traffic. People have parked on street car tracks, cross walks, bike lanes, live lanes of traffic and even blocking intersections. There have been so many stupid parking violations that nothing surprises me anymore. One situation that comes to mind involved a large vehicle (I think it was a hummer), that was parked in front of a fire hydrant, facing the wrong direction and blocking half of a live lane of traffic. They assumed it was okay to park there because the passenger was inside the car while the driver stepped out "for just a minute." I gave the passenger the opportunity to move the vehicle but since she did not have a drivers license I issued the ticket.

What are the craziest things people have done to try and get out of a ticket you've written them?

Asked by pualD over 11 years ago

I have seen people dodge cars, people and street cars to race me to their cars, I have had people plead for mercy, offer to give me money and even offer me their first born child. People get worked up over parking tickets, they will do almost anything to get out of a ticket. Some people have even gone out of their way to flirt with me in hopes that I will change my mind about serving them the ticket which I find very insulting. If someone approaches me and can give me a valid reason while I should take it back, I more than likely will. But like I mentioned before, be nice and I will return the favor. People are usually pleasant as pie when they are trying to get out of a ticket, but if I choose to serve the ticket I see their true colors. I have been called every name in the book, and some you couldn't even imagine. It's just a parking ticket, not the end of the world. The times I decide to take the ticket back, people usually offer to buy me coffee or food to thank me. A simple thank you is enough.

Ever busted someone using a handicap placard that wasn't actually handicapped?

Asked by slowgrind over 11 years ago

I actually have had someone charged for using a permit that did not belong to them. In Toronto we have a specialized unit called the Disabled Liaison Unit that patrols the city for those who abuse disabled permits. The number of people using disabled permits has been increasing substantially in the last little while, and it seems like doctors are issuing them to patients for just about anything these days. It's difficult in these situations because all we can do as parking officials, is go around and confiscate misused ones. Even if it doesn't seem like an individual has a disability, the permit may be registered in their name and we cannot do anything. I have heard stories about people stealing permits, buying permits and also using the permits of deceased relatives, just to get free parking. People have even gone as far as to create counterfeit permits and selling them to anyone they can. What people don't realize is that every permit has an identification number which helps determine the gender, age and name of the individual. Therefore we are able to better identify who could be misusing a permit and cross reference the permit holders info to that of the vehicle's registered owner.

Do you find it emotionally taxing to have a job that consists nearly exclusively of ruining peoples' days?

Asked by cooledge over 11 years ago

I feel like the phrase emotionally taxing is an understatement. It's very hard not to take this job home with you. People don't only insult your job but they insult your actual character. I am not there to ruin peoples lives, I am there only there to do my job and people need to understand that. I am not going out of my way to make you miserable, you just happened to park illegally on the street I decided to turn on. It was very difficult for me when I first started this job. I never ever thought of people as horrible, and chose to think that people were inherently good (minus a few bad apples). Naive, I know. But what I have come to realize is that most people are only nice to you when they want something: to take their ticket back. Sometimes random people on the street go out of there way to tell me off, and wish malicious things upon me and my family. I am not a piece of garbage, nor am I your punching bag. I am sorry you are having a bad day, but there's nothing I can do for you. That is why I appreciate the times when I get a thank you, a smile or words or encouragement from the public. It makes me feel human again.

We resent parking officials not because we're just jerks who hate getting tickets, but because oftentimes the parking signs are hard to interpret or not readily visible. When we get tickets in those cases, it just doesn't feel FAIR because the violation wasn't clear at the time that we parked. Case in point - if I park illegally (without realizing it) but the sign explaining this is a block away, doesn't that seem a little unreasonable? Am I supposed to spend 15 min scouring the neighborhood for signs? I guess what I'm asking is are you at least open to the idea that sometimes Parking Enforcement doesn't do the greatest job of making the distinction between legal and illegal parking areas?

Asked by Argh-onaut over 11 years ago

I can understand the publics frustration with confusing and improper signage. I can admit that signs can be conflicting and confusing even to parking officials at times. I usually shy away from ticketing people in areas with missing or insufficient signage. Like I have mentioned before, it is in your best interest to look at all the signage near your car to ensure that you are parked legally. If you are continually finding issues with signage you may be better off parking in a private lot or on another street. It is also important to note That we personally do not put up the signs and That the city is responsible for their maintenance. I also must admit That when a parking officer is assigned to one area for a long period of time and is used to certain sections to be prohibited, it's easy for us to overlook a missing sign and assume That it's still there. This is not an excuse, but it can happen from time to time. We are only human, we can make mistakes. This is why you have the right to take your ticket to court.

You wrote that jumping into your car and driving away won't work in avoiding a ticket, but what if I pull away before the officer has finished writing it up, thus preventing him from "serving" it to me? Aren't I home free then?

Asked by piuspius over 11 years ago

I stated earlier that if it isn't served to your vehicle your home free, but jumping into your car and driving away isn't always the best solution. It's rude and and it's dangerous because your main focus is to avoid getting the ticket and you may not notice other cars, cyclists or people around you. It is also dangerous for the officer as well, as some of my coworkers have been hit by doors, had their feet run over etc. because someone was in a rush to get away from them. What I mentioned was that it is simpler for you to actually say "Hi, I'm here, I'm leaving" rather than attempting to drive off.

I tend to shy away from metered parking because I don't know if I have enough change to cover myself. Why aren't there meters that accept credit cards in this day and age? At least not in my neck of the woods...

Asked by Carefulgal31 over 11 years ago

I answered a similar question on April 25th submitted by Plastics. I don't know why some cities continue to use metered parking, but the trend seems to be moving toward using electronic machines. I am sure we will be finding more electronic forms of paid parking in most major cities in the near future.

So I saw in the Toronto papers today a big scandal about police officers getting busted for having ticket quotas, even though law prohibits it. Did that affect meter maids at all?

Asked by goleafs over 11 years ago

For those of you who aren't from Toronto, the story is mainly focused around an email from a Toronto Police Sergeant who was encouraging her officers to write more tickets.The type of tickets she is referring to is unknown, and could relate to a number of violations. ( It didn't really affect the Parking Unit at all. Some of my coworkers and I discussed it briefly, but I tend to be weary of anything I read these days in the newspapers as they tend to be anti-police. After reading the newspaper article myself I can see how the email in question can be manipulated to mean that there is a quota in place. In reality I think this Sergeant was just looking to get her officers to be more proactive. As I mentioned before, the type of tickets she is mentioning is unknown. Police Officers write tickets for a number of things, not just traffic tickets. They can even write parking tickets. I may be pro-police, but I think that this Sergeant is only looking to make sure that her officers aren't just sitting around and doing nothing.

I've heard that in some countries, the fines for parking and traffic violations vary based on the person's income. Do you think this policy makes more sense than the conventional flat-fee penalties?

Asked by Big Finn over 11 years ago

I think it would make more sense to base the price of fines on a person's level of income, simply because a $30 dollar ticket doesn't mean much to a person making a six figure salary. It may, however, deter a single parent making 20,000 a year from parking illegally in the future. In order to deter people from parking illegally (or any other traffic violation), people have to be hit where it hurts the most (their wallets). I really don't know if this would ever be implemented in Toronto, but it's theoretically a good idea.

Are there times when you can't decide whether to give a ticket because you're going back and forth on whether or not it's actually deserved because of confusing signs or something?

Asked by M1ke over 11 years ago

There have been many instances where I feel conflicted about giving out a ticket. This usually happens in areas where construction was once taking place. Once construction is over, the city rushes to put signs back up and can sometimes put up conflicting or insufficient signage. In one particular area there is one sign that reads "no standing" with arrows pointing in both directions at the very top of the street. No other signs exist on that street. This is not only conflicting for me, but also for motorists who want to park there. I personally choose to avoid ticketing on that entire side of the street, but other officers have no problem doing so. Technically the officer is justified in doing so, but it's a judgement call on the part of the officer.

You said, "This is why you have the right to take your ticket to court." While technically true, any busy person probably can't spend a day dealing with the court system to contest a $50 ticket. So as a practical matter, we as drivers are forced to pay it, even in instances where it's not justified. Why can't we just contest it by submitting a brief explanation and accompanying photos online?

Asked by Argh-onaut over 11 years ago

To date there is only an online dispute process for tickets received in metered areas. This is because meters and pay machines are often out of service etc. In the City of Toronto, you can take your chances with a First Appearance Facility, (which are the locations listed on the back of your ticket, which you go to set your court date). There have been instances where they take back tickets, but they are more than likely going to tell you to set a court date. I understand it's a nuisance to take your ticket to court and take time off work etc, but you also have the right to send someone on your behalf. You don't have to go personally. If you are going to plead not guilty and go through with a trial, the person can't obviously testify you. The only thing a representative can do for you is ask for an adjournment for another day you can personally attend, or to plead guilty on your behalf. Prosecutors will tell you that parking violations are absolute liability offences, and that if your car was there (regardless of if you found the signs confusing,) you are guilty. If you plead guilty they often let you give an explanation that will go toward lessening the fine. I agree that there should be a system in place for people to deal with parking tickets more efficiently, even electronically. Unfortunately I don`t make up the rules. If you want to be able to dispute things online you should complain to your city councilors as we haven`t personally put these rules in place. We are there to enforce the bylaws, and to attend court when summoned.

If I get a parking ticket but the sign was not visible (blocked by a tree, spraypainted over, or something similar), can I appeal it?

Asked by N8 over 11 years ago

You have the right to appeal any ticket you receive, including parking tickets. I an understand that a lot of the signs are old, worn down, or even obstructed at times and therefore I recommend that you do exercise your right to a trial in these cases. Every ticket that an officer will write will also include evidence that they include at the time of the offence, and therefore it is up to you to come up with evidence that will support you. Your only option is to take photos at the time of the incident of the obstructed signs. I also suggest that these pictures be date stamped in order to further assist you. It is up to the Justice of the Peace to accept them or not in court. Also bear in mind that sometimes there are other signs ahead or behind your vehicle that may not be obstructed. My best advice to all drivers is to be aware of EVERY sign in the vicinity of your parking spot. When it doubt, don't park there.

What's the meanest thing anyone's ever said to you?

Asked by porks2 over 11 years ago

The meanest thing anyone's ever said to me? That's a tough call. There are some things that I shouldn't even post on the internet. People say a lot of awful things to me, but one particular incident sent chills down my spine. I was ticketing down a busy street in Toronto on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when a pedestrian that was walking by me stopped, went out of his way and asked "Why are you ticketing people on weekends? Way to ruin someones day. You should be shot for that." This man didn't even have a car parked near me. I didn't even pay him any attention, but he chose to confront me about ticketing other peoples cars. It was shocking to say the least, but it wasn't just what he said, it's how he said it. I almost believed he would come back and show me how serious he was.

Is it true that once a meter maid has written a ticket, he can't take it back no matter how much a person pleads?

Asked by Don70 over 11 years ago

Like I mentioned before, I can only speak on behalf of the system in Toronto. If the ticket has not been served to the vehicle in question, the officer has discretion in whether or not they wish to serve the parking infraction notice. With that said, it is also legally served if it is handed to you. Some of my coworkers choose to be more aggressive but the majority of us will be nice enough to not serve it and let you carry on with your day. Just a word to the wise: dashing into your car and driving away, or not acknowledging a parking enforcement officer will more than likely result in them serving the ticket. Be respectful to us and we will be nice in return (that's my motto at least).

Let's say you're just starting to write me a ticket as I run back to my car. What's the best thing I can do to persuade you not to ticket me?

Asked by tom_singletary over 11 years ago

Like I mentioned before, if I haven't served the ticket to your car I more than likely will let you go (unless you have parked outrageously). There's not a specific thing you can say to me that will make me want to take the ticket back for you, but it always helps when you are respectful. Also, if you have a valid excuse like running someone into the emergency room at the hospital etc., the chances of you avoiding a ticket are good. I also appreciate it when people admit their guilt instead of focusing on how I have somehow wronged them. It is also important to note that it is up to the individual officers discretion to take a ticket back or not. What works for one parking officer may not work for another.

Are some parking enforcement officers vindictive or spiteful when deciding who to ticket? For example, are they more likely to ticket a Ferrari than a Civic?

Asked by CID over 11 years ago

I'm sure that there is a parking officer out there that works that way, but for the majority of us we don't see the make or model of a car, we just see a parking violation. Anything with a license plate is fine to tag by my standards. I will admit, however, that I don't feel as bad ticketing a higher end car because I know these individuals have more disposable income than those driving lower end cars.

What do you do if you set off a car alarm while placing a ticket on someone's windshield?

Asked by Ghostride66 over 11 years ago

There's not too much I can do except place the ticket on the windshield. Car alarms go off all the time. People even intentionally set off their alarms in order to scare us, and or show that they are coming back to their vehicle. If an alarm does happen to go off based on the fact that I am placing a ticket on it, I go on my way and hope that the alarm will eventually turn itself off.

Was there ever a time where someone begged you not to write them a ticket and you did anyway, but later you felt really guilty about it? Like maybe you realized they had a valid point?

Asked by jaaaaaake about 11 years ago

We all have things to do and places to be, and I understand how difficult it can be to find a parking spot sometimes. I also have a job to do, and if someone is late, or has parked illegally to run in to a store for "a minute" I have to ticket them. I feel bad for issuing tickets to people on a regular basis. This is especially true when I have ticketed an elderly person or a young mother who is trying to juggle three kids while running back to her car. I have also had instances where disabled people have parked in a rush hour route and I have towed, or almost towed their car away. I still have a job to do whether or not I feel bad for people. I have to try to stay objective, and not let my conscience get in the way.

If we didn't use our tax money to pay for meter maids couldn't we use that money instead to provide free parking?

Asked by Jason over 10 years ago

Your tax paying dollars don't actually pay for our salaries. We pay our own salaries with the revenue we make from issuing parking tickets.

Why aren't all meters electronic at this point? Who the hell carries change anymore?

Asked by PLASTICS!!! over 11 years ago

The funny thing is meter maids don't have anything to do with the actual pay machines. We are only there to enforce the parking bylaws.Traditional parking meters are very rare now, and only a handful still exist in Toronto. The main pay system we deal with are "pay and display" machines, where you purchase time with change or a credit card and display the receipt on your dashboard. The city is in charge of the machines and their maintenance. A lot of cities are turning to electronic forms of payment, so I'm sure every major city will eventually go that route.

Do you use "the boot"? How on earth is that legal? What if a car is given the boot mistakenly and that driver has an emergency, like he needs to drive to the hospital or something?

Asked by I heart handicap spots over 11 years ago

The use of a boot is not legal in the city of Toronto. There have been instances where private security companies have used them on private property, but they are currently under investigation and/or facing charges. I think the main use of the boot is to collect fines from those individuals who continuously park illegally and leave their tickets unpaid. I can't really answer your question about emergency situations because I not familiar with the procedures involved with booting a vehicle.

How much parking ticket revenue does the city of Toronto bring in on an average weekday?

Asked by Tubro over 11 years ago

Every day varies for a meter maid, and the time of year also makes a huge difference for us. The number of tickets written in the summer is probably higher than a day in the winter. This is because more people are driving, there are more events going on and a lot more tourists. Weekends can also be more lucrative for us because there tends to be more going on around the city. It's very hard to estimate the daily revenue from the tickets we write, and there are a number of reasons why: some people don't pay their tickets until they go to renew their plates, some choose to take their tickets to court, and furthermore some ticket's get withdrawn. The amount of revenue we make on an annual basis actually gets published for everyone to see. In 2011 it was estimated somewhere in the millions. I don't remember the exact amount but I will look into it further and report back to you.

Do you carry a weapon? Have you ever had to use it?

Asked by barry over 11 years ago

Parking officers don't carry any weapons in the city of Toronto. To the best of my knowledge they never have.

Do you find being a meter maid emotionally fulfilling? Do you have career aspirations beyond your current role?

Asked by portia over 11 years ago

I don't think anyone wishes to be a meter maid when they grow up. Neither do I. I simply see this job as a stepping stone for a future in law enforcement. In Toronto, the Parking Enforcement Unit is part of the Toronto Police Service, and therefore a great way to gain an internal role within the service. I don't know if any of my coworkers find this job emotionally fulfilling, as I find it quite draining. This job is simply a job. Parking Officers are required in order to ensure that traffic flows safely and to answer the parking complaints of the public. It can be fulfilling at times, when you help someone remove an unwanted vehicle from their property, or clear obstructions to their driveway, but we're not exactly saving the world either.

Is it easy to make and print fake parking meter slips to put on your dashboard? That seems pretty easy. Is forgery a big problem in Toronto, and are you trained to spot fakes?

Asked by goleafs over 11 years ago

I would be pretty difficult to spot a forgery on a pay and display receipt, simply because we don't actually get to see them up close. I have seen people try to use receipts from previous years, months etc. but fake slips have never seemed to be an issue in Toronto. I feel that it would be easy to spot a fake, simply because they might miss a vital piece of information that is on a slip, like the day of the year or the street that it was purchased from. Whoever has the patience to sit and make a slip for every area they will be visiting in a day would have a lot of spare time on their hands. It would take more effort to make a forgery than it would to spend a couple of dollars to park on a city street.

What parking rule do you personally find ridiculous, even though it's your job to enforce it?

Asked by micahStL over 11 years ago

There are numerous parking bylaws in existence. There are a handful that we actually enforce on a regular basis. There are two really ridiculous parking bylaws that technically can be enforced, but we choose not to. The first is displaying a `for sale` sign in your parked vehicle on city streets. The second is washing your car on city streets as well. I`m sure there was a reason for these byalws long ago, but like I said, we choose not to enforce them. I`m sure there are other ridiculous bylaws, but I can`t seem to think of anymore at the moment.

If the meter is broken, why can't I park for free? If you're saying we shouldn't park in spaces where the meter is broken, isn't that just a clear waste of a space? I don't understand that policy at all.

Asked by Brent over 11 years ago

I don't know why that rule is in place, you would have to take that up with your city councilors. The main issue is that people assume that if a pay machine is broken they get free parking. In reality, they can walk a few paces down the street and use the next available machine. Of course, this can only happen with pay and display machines and on a street that has more than one machine. I'm sure that a lot of people feel the same way you do, hence the creation of the online dispute process.

What happens if my car is issued a ticket, but through no fault of my own, the ticket disappears before I even see it (wind blows it away, someone else removes it, etc)? How does that play out legally?

Asked by woosh!!! about 11 years ago

This happens more often than you think. If a ticket is issued to your license plate you will always receive a notice in the mail (where your car is registered to) telling you that you have an outstanding ticket and your options for either paying the fine, or setting a court date. It is still a legal ticket and you will have to decide whether to pay or fight it. If you don't do either and leave the fine outstanding, it could come back to haunt you when you go to renew your plates. There have been times where people receive notices in the mail for outstanding tickets, when they haven't actually ever been to that address. If this is the case then there might be an error on the officers part, (by messing up on the license plate) and you should go to a first appearance facility to straighten it out.

If a parking meter is out of order but the spot is empty, can I still park in that spot? And if so, how should I pay, if at all?

Asked by Steve Almighty over 11 years ago

If you are parked at an actual parking meter (not a pay and display machine) and it it out of order, you will more than likely get a ticket. In Toronto, the bylaw clearly states that no one should park next to a broken meter. If you are parked near a pay and display machine, and it is not in working order, the same rule applies, but you may use any machine on that given street to purchase a receipt. If you are on a street that only has one pay and display machine, it might be best to find parking elsewhere. There really is no such thing as free parking in larger cities like Toronto, so when in doubt, don't park there at all. We are not responsible for maintaining the machines, therefore it is hard for us to notice that a meter or a pay and display machine is broken. If you have received a ticket because of a broken meter or pay and display machine there is now an online dispute process ( Unfortunately this process is not yet available for any other infractions.

Do meter maids have ticket quotas you need to reach each month?

Asked by brickhouz over 11 years ago

We do not have a quota. We do have a performance standard that we have to attain to show that we are actually out there working. The city has calculated the average ticket number in every area in the city, and officers assigned to these zones should be getting roughly the same amount as their counterparts on different shifts.

If I go to court to contest a ticket, does the parking official who issued it have to show up, and do I win automatically if he doesn't?

Asked by Brixxx over 11 years ago

If the officer who issued the ticket does not attend court, then the case is withdrawn. So yes, you win. However, we are required to attend court, and will more than likely be there. The only time we do not attend court is if we are scheduled to be on leave, we are sick or if there is a shortage of officers on duty and we are required to work.

I'm from Toronto! I got a ticket for parking in a handicap spot. To me the signs seemed to indicate that you could not park between certain hours if you had a permit but after those hours parking was ok. Do you think I have a chance in court?

Asked by dcollie over 11 years ago

There are many different kinds of disabled parking zones in Toronto, so it's hard for me to tell what you got the ticket for. I've only ever seen one disabled zone that stated specific times and days in all of the areas I have worked in, so you may be correct. You always have a chance to fight things in court, so I suggest you set a court date. I always recommend that individuals who receive parking tickets in disabled parking zones set court dates, regardless of whether they plead guilty or not guilty since the fine is $450. If you have a chance you should also go back to the area you received the ticket and even review the signs before your court date. If you are still unsure you can also ask to speak to the officer who issued you the ticket when you check in with the prosecutor. At the very least, pleading guilty can help with getting the fine reduced.

Ever see this?
Costumes and jokes aside, would you actually come down on a good samaritan who was refreshing expired meters?

Asked by Chris almost 11 years ago

LOL...I hadn't seen that video before now. I personally wouldn't lose it on a "good Samaritan" but there's only so much you can do before you lose your cool. Obviously this was just done to cause a reaction and it worked. I've heard of this situation occurring to a coworker. A man took it upon himself to jump ahead of the officer in an attempt to mess with them. It can be cute at first but this situation lasted way longer than necessary, and at the end of the day the person is just messing with someone's livelihood: would you like it it someone was affecting your ability to work? So no, i wouldnt come down on a good samaritan who was refreshing expired meters, but maybe i would react differently if this person was following and harassing me for an over extended period of time.

what can u do if handicapped parking seized a year ago, went to police station but they had already sent them back what can i do to get another sticker

Asked by PP over 10 years ago

Assuming you live in Ontario you must contact the Ministry of Transportation, through Service Ontario. They are the ones who issue Accessible Parking Permits. If you indeed have a legitimate reason for obtaining a permit, and you have a doctors recomendation you should go to the MTO. Everything you need to know is on their web page:

There is also an online form available to you as well. 

If the permit was siezed for being misused, it's possible that you may not be able to get another permit. You would have to talk to representatives from Service Ontario for more clarification. 

Has anyone ever offered you a bribe not to write them a ticket?

Asked by Anj about 11 years ago

Most of the time people jokingly offer to give me something to make their ticket go away, but there have been a few instances where people attempted to bribe me. The most common one would be to offer me money, sometimes more than what the ticket is worth. I have also been offered food and drinks (including a 6 pack of beer). When people start to haggle with me, I usually walk away to avoid this type of situation altogether.

Can I still get a ticket if I am parked in the a spot where the meter has run out BUT, I am still sitting in the car?

Asked by Paul over 10 years ago

If someone is sitting in their car, at an expired meter, I usually walk right by them. So no, I wouldn't give you a ticket. Technically if you are parked at expired meter you can receive a ticket, but as a courtesy we don't really give anyone grief. If you are taking up a space that someone is looking to use, that's when I would ask someone to move or feed the meter. If there is a refusal to do so, that's when I would issue a ticket.

Can you get arrested for unpaid parking tickets? How many tickets would that take?

Asked by aaron about 11 years ago

Parking infractions aren't important enough to have someone least they aren't in Toronto. Parking tickets only affect an individual when they are looking to sell their vehicle, or to renew their plates. In order to get their plates renewed they must pay off their outstanding parking fines. Every time a parking officer types the license plate of a vehicle into their handheld device, they are able to see how many outstanding tickets and unpaid fines an individual has, and I have seen many individuals with hundreds of unpaid fines. In theory, when people have an unpaid ticket the city will look to a collection agency to get their money. I don't actually think this is actually in practice, as many people just continue to rack up parking tickets and avoid renewing their plates for as long as possible (AKA when they are fined by a police officer). I have heard of other cities that have a booting system in place, in order to have people pay their fines more diligently. Their car will remained booted until the city receives full payment of unpaid tickets.

A meter maid ticketed 1 car on our street with >6mths expired registration 3x over the span of a few months. She had another vehicle towed without warning for the same that had been on the street for 2 days. Is it legal to execute the law differently

Asked by whit13 about 10 years ago

It's hard for me to answer this without knowing the facts and circumstances. Specific situations require different forms of action.

There are rules that govern our job, but some vehicles may be towed over others depending on what offence they are committing. This doesn't mean that the officer is being selective on what they are towing, but maybe the second vehicle you mentioned was committing an offence that allowed for immediate towing. This can include no stopping, no standing, and even areas that block peoples driveways. 

I wouldn't say that she is executing the law differently, but maybe the rules that we follow didn't allow her to tow the first vehicle. This is because we need to have three tickets on a vehicle from three different days in order to tow it. Maybe the second car had three tickets on it which warranted her to tow the vehicle.

Without the facts I am just giving hypothetical answers. If you feel strongly about this and you live on that particular street, you can call in and get more information from our office.

Do you ever wait by the meter for the time to expire (assuming it is close)? And do you give people a buffer in terms of timing (e.g. 1 min, 5 mins, etc.) before you issue a ticket? Also, do you have quotas you need to meet?

Asked by liteofc about 11 years ago

People assume that we wait around for meters/receipts to expire, but in reality we don't have that much time on our hands. If I am doing a loop of a street and I remember that a certain car is about to expire I may go back to it on my way back to my car, but I don't just sit at a car and wait to ticket it. In the city of Toronto we give a five minute grace period for expired receipts. There has recently been some talk of extending it to ten minutes, but I think that is just overkill. If people know they may need some extra time they should be parking in parking lots with a flat rate, and leaving the street parking for people who need a spot to quickly go about their business. As for your question about quotas...I answered this earlier this year. We don't have quotas in Toronto, but we do have a performance standard that we have to attain. The city has calculated the average ticket number in every area in the city, and officers assigned to these zones should be getting roughly the same amount as their counterparts on different shifts.

If I park in a spot that's designated for "2 hour parking", can I just refill my meter once the 2 hours expires and keep my car there?

Asked by Iwonderwonderwonder... over 10 years ago

As long as the meter has been paid you are legally parked, at least that is the case in Toronto. The city has a three hour maximum at meters which mainly means that you can only pay for blocks of three hours at a time. This means as long as you continue to pay you are legally parked.

Can you issue a ticket when someone is still in their car?

Asked by Lucky 7 almost 11 years ago

Yes, a ticket can be issued to someone while they are in their car. Our unit policy, however is to first ask them to move. If they do not comply then we can issue the ticket. Asking them to move is not mandatory, but we do it to be nice, as some people don't realize that they are parked illegally. Most people are happy to oblige, but those who refuse to listen can still get a ticket.

What's the nicest thing someone's said to you, or the sweetest surprise you received?

Asked by Mary W over 10 years ago

It's hard to recall the nicest thing someone has ever said to me, but I have had several encounters with individuals who have brightened my day. Most of the time it's just someone asking if I'm cold and would like something warm to drink. Or someone giving me words of encouragement. I've also had times where a passerby will stop to make sure I'm okay when a disgruntled individual I have ticketed is raising their voice with me. There is one individual who stands out to me as well. A particular business owner I see on a regular basis always watches to make sure that no one gives me a hard time when I am approached on his particular street. He is always friendly and makes sure I have enough water on a hot day, or invites me inside if I need to warm up on a frigid day. It's people like this that actually make my job more meaningful.

Can you issue tickets for offenses other than expired meters, like parking too close to a hydrant or in a handicap spot?

Asked by Karyn over 10 years ago

Yes. We can issue a parking infraction notice for any parking violation. I give out tickets for people parked in disabled parking spaces, parking too close to fire hydrants, parking too close to the intersection etc. We also issue tickets on private property when someone is there without the consent of the property owner.

Dumb question maybe but, do meter maids usually lose a lot of weight doing this job, since they're on their feet and walking around so much of the day?

Asked by Jack LL over 10 years ago

Not a dumb question. This job is a very active one. We have inviduals who walk and bike for their entire shift. A lot of people I know, myself included, have lost some weight because of the job. I find that the physical requirements of the job have allowed me to maintain my weight a lot better than people who aren't on the job. 

I'm thinking of becoming a Parking Enforcement Officer. Can you tell me a bit about the hiring process? I got the requirements and whatnot, but I'd like to know more about what it's like from someone who went through it.

Asked by TP over 10 years ago

I can definitely tell you the process based in Toronto, but I am not sure how it works elsewhere.

If you have the basic requirements and pass a basic background check you only have a few more things in store. I am assuming that you have filled out an application and submitted it electronically on the Toronto Police Service Website. 

First you are required to write an exam that tests your basic spelling and grammar. If you are successful with the test you then move on to an interview. This interview can come months after the test, so if you don't hear anything for a while it's actually a good thing. "No news is good news" is the policy. If you are unsucessful in the testing phase you will be notified in writing which will stipulate when you are allowed to reapply. 

Hearing whether or not you were successful in the interview stage also takes some time, as there are many applicants and background checks being conducted on possible candidates. If you are successful you will hear back in a few months to say that you were successful and a job offer will be made. If you were unsuccessful you will be notified in writing. 

Once you have been offered the job and sworn in you are required to complete approximately 6 weeks of training, which is in a classroom setting. After the training is complete you are put  on a shift of either monday to friday, or a compressed schedule which includes days, evenings, and weekends.

For the first month or so you will be paired up with a training officer who will take you around and familiarize you with the particular area that you will be working in. After this time is completed, you are required to work on your own and pass your probationary period which is 6 months from the time you begin the in class training. 

Hopefully this gives you some insight on the process ahead. The Toronto Police Service Website is also a great way to understand the requirements of the job:


Is there a quota, or a minimum number of tickets that you are required to write during a specified period, such as monthly?

Asked by natred about 10 years ago

This question was asked on April 29, 2012. I answered the following: We do not have a quota. We do have a performance standard that we have to attain to show that we are actually out there working. The city has calculated the average ticket number in every area in the city, and officers assigned to these zones should be getting roughly the same amount as their counterparts on different shifts.

Tell me honestly - are you more lenient with ticketing if the car in question is clearly equipped for babies & young children (e.g. a minivan with two baby car-seats and a "baby on board" decal)? Do new parents catch a break?

Asked by micah over 10 years ago

I wouldn't say I was more leneient in ticketing people with children. But letting a individuals with children off  would really depend on the parking offence itself. If they were five minutes late and were running back to their car with 3 kids in tow I would maybe let them go without issuing the ticket. Otherwise If they were in rush hour I wouldnt' have any other choice but to ticket and tow them right away. 

Overall, I think I would treat them the same way as I would anyone else running back to their car before I serve a ticket. Parents park illegally too, and cars that seem to equipped for transporting children aren't exempt from parking bylaws. 

Do you give out more tickets when you're in a bad mood?

Asked by Elliott over 10 years ago

My mood doesn't have anything to do with my productivity. If more people are parked illegally then I give out more tickets. If no one is out that day, the amount of tickets I give out decreases. I will admit that I'm less inclined to deal with peoples theatrics when i am in a bad mood, but it doesn't affect my work performance.

Do you actually re look at a ticket that has already been issued on a car? As in, what if I take someone else's ticket and put it on my car, would you check to see if it belongs to me?

Asked by Mikey over 10 years ago

Yes, we do check tickets that are on a car. Not only does it help us know what coworkers are in the area, but it is also possible for an individual to get more than one ticket on a given day. It is also important to note that we check tickets in order to ensure that a person hasn't accumulated three tickets in the same area, as they will then be automatically towed.

My husband was in the hospital getting his leg amputated and I pulled a 24 hr with him , using his disable permit I parked in a disable parking spot and received a 450 ticket plus the permit was revoked.
How do i fight this and get it back.

Asked by rosa over 10 years ago

It would really depend on what the offence was for. Clearly you were in a disabled spot but were you in a "No Standing Disabled Loading Zone?" If this is the case you are only allowed to occupy the spot for less than twenty minutes to drop off and pick up the said disabled person. To park there for twenty four hours would definately be in excess of the permitted time. 

Because it is your husbands permit, he has to be the one being transported using the vehicle. If you were using the permit without transporting him, there are grounds for charging you with misuse of the permit. If an officer seized the permit they were only doing so to investigate the matter. I am sure based on the date that you submitted the question that you've already been contacted about the matter, and whether you are being charged for misuse of the permit. If this is the case then you will have to attend court to fight an HTA offence. If it was deemed that it wasn't misused then the permit was or will be returned to you. 


Either way if you still have concerns with why it was seized, or the ticket itself you can always contact the Disabled Liason Unit at the Parking Enforcement Unit for clarification. They can explain your individual circumstances to you and your options. 

When there is no meter but there are signs that say "2-hour parking" how do you keep track of how long a car has been parked there? Is it OK to move your car at 2 hours to a nearby spot? Would you notice this?

Asked by Rita over 10 years ago

We keep track of people parked in areas with specific time allowances by chalking the tires of the car. If we return after the allowed time and the tires of a car still have the chalk marks on it, we are able to ticket it. You are allowed to move to a nearby spot and start the process again. There is also another method that is used when chalking tires is not possible (bad weather etc.) which is called valve stemming. We take note of the position of the air valve on the tires of the car and if they are in the same position as when we first noted them, we are able to ticket them for parking in excess of the permitted time.

I got a $450 ticket for parking in a handicapped loading zone (legitimately didn't see the sign, it was dark and raining), but the officer put the wrong license plate number on the ticket (one digit off). Does this mean that it will be dismissed?

Asked by Ticketed over 10 years ago

If the license plate on the ticket was written incorrectly the ticket is not valid. In any case take this ticket to a first appearance facility listed on the back of the ticket to ensure it gets cancelled. It is also important to do this since the license plate listed on the ticket may belong to someone else and they will be getting a court notification of impending conviction. To save this poor person the trouble of proving they were never parked at that location I would make sure that you do this ASAP. It is also a good idea to take your ownership with you to prove that the license plate was indeed incorrect.

I parked right in front of a meter in dallas,tx and paid for over two hours but soon after that another car pulled up and said that's there meter and the one further down is mines because the first car didn't pull up enough so is this my metere or no

Asked by simone over 10 years ago

I really wouldn't be able to answer that question efficiently without seeing a photo or being familiar with the area. In most cases the meter you pay for is the one cloeset to your car. 

If I move my car before a meter maid starts writing a ticket, is it legal for her to continue issuing a ticket?

Asked by Aria over 10 years ago

If you move your car and drive away before a parking enforcement officer is finished writing the ticket, then it has not yet been served to your vehicle and therefore not legally binding. If someone is writing you a ticket and you move your car up a few paces and your still in a prohibited area, then in that case they can still write you a ticket. It depends on what your definition of "move your car" is. 

Sometimes the ticket has already been created and the officer is only waiting for it to print, in that case the ticket must be printed and submitted for cancellation since it hasn't been served to a vehicle or driver. 

My husband used my handicap mother disabled parking ticket, without my mom to be with him. He had a hard time to find a parking spot. The permit was confiscated, he got a $ 40 fine and will be served a summons for court. How much fine he can get?

Asked by Camelia over 10 years ago

Since the permit was misused without your mothers knowledge and your husband used the permit to park in a "no parking area" to receive an exemption, the permit was seized. The misuse of the permit would have been investigated and if it found that it was misused he will be charged with its misuse under the Highway Traffic Act. He will receive a court notification and can face up to a $5000 dollar fine.

I've never heard of a first time offender receiving a fine that high, but I have seen more leniency granted to those who plead guilty. If you are unsure you can always hire legal counsel who can advise you of your options, since this is now a traffic violation. Like I mentioned in the post above, if you need more clarification contact the Disabled Liason Unit at the Parking Enforcement Unit. They will be able to give you more information. 

I recieved a ticket for depositing money in the wrong meter, which was closest to my car. The correct meter was blocked by a sign and I couldn't see it from the angled space. What are the rules on meters and visibility and signage for meters?

Asked by jmore818 over 10 years ago

I can't really answer your question without knowing what area you were parked in , My suggestion to you is to call the department that deals with Parking in your city and to inquire about their specific rules. Or you can also stop and ask the next parking officer you see for clarification. I am assuming that you were using an old styled meter where you put money directly into a meter, and not a "pay and display" machine. The only rules we have for the old style meters is that the meter closest to the car is the one to be used. If there is a broken meter or a missing meter, it is the responsibility of the driver to find another spot to park in. As for visibility and the signage for meters, the instructions for use and times of use are displayed on the actual meter themselves. The meters are always adjacent to the parking space. Again I do suggest you talk to someone who is actually familiar with the area in question, and for the city you were in.

Are you paid by the amount of tickets you issue (similar to commission) or is the revenue pooled and split up equally or according to seniority? BTW, so many people park illegally on my street. I truly appreciate the job you do!

Asked by Dog crazy over 10 years ago

It's nice to hear that we can be appreciated! We are paid a salary. The number of tickets we write does not affect the wage we are paid, and we are definitely not given commission. No matter how long you have been on the job, every Parking Enforcement Officer is paid the same salary. Those in supervisory positions get a slightly higher salary.

I hate to say it, but I have on many occasions, been able to drive away before the ticket was put on my window. Most recently the officer was printing the ticket and did not get it on my car before I drove away. I am assuming this ticket is invalid?

Asked by Park and Dash over 10 years ago

If the ticket was not served to your vehicle then you are home free. It doesn't mean that the ticket is invalid either as it was written justly. Contrary to popular belief, there is still a record of individuals who "get away" before the ticket is issued. If the officer has already printed the ticket and just hasn't served it to your vehicle, all of that information is still on record and is marked as "drove away" as opposed to "served."

can a meter maid give you a ticket without your license plate or license number and only your vin?

Asked by bekah over 10 years ago

You cannot receive a parking ticket without a license plate in Toronto. In other cities I have heard that you can be ticketed directly from your VIN, but not here. However, if you are parked illegally without plates on, you can be towed from your VIN which is a much heftier fine than a parking ticket.

I got a ticket the other day in Toronto. (Maybe it was written by you) Do you have any tips to fight it off?

Asked by FridayLover over 10 years ago

Everyone gets a parking ticket somewhere down the line, I've been there myself. The real question you should be asking is "is it worth it to fight this ticket?" You have to consider whether or not this ticket was justified, the amount of the fine itself, and if its worth it to take a day off work or send someone on your behalf to fight it for you. If the ticket was unjustified by all means fight it - it's about the principle of it. Just know that parking fines are absolute liability fines - this means if your car was there you are essentially guilty. Not guilty only means you weren't there at all or there was a mistake. If you were 5 minutes late, the signs were confusing, you only parked there for a minute, or you were getting your sick grandmother from the hospital you are still guilty. You just state that you are guilty with an explanation and hope that by pleading guilty you will get a reduced fine. If the ticket is less than 40 bucks, and it was justified it may not be worth it. Even if you were to plead guilty and get a lesser fine your looking at paying half of the set fine, missing wages from work and paying for more parking. If it's more than 60 bucks it may be worth the time, especially when you are looking at offences for fire hydrants and fines for parking in disabled spaces. It's hard to for me to give specific tips for you to fight a ticket without knowing the actual circumstances of it. My suggestion is that you can afford to take the time of work or send someone on your behalf to fight the ticket, do it. If not, it might just be easier to pay the fine. If someone does go on your behalf, make sure you understand that you can only send someone to plead guilty on your behalf or to get an adjournment so you can appear at a later date. If your ticket was due to a broken meter or machine, or the fact that you paid and had the receipt flip over you can always use the online dispute process I mentioned in an earlier post and deal with it by following the directions in this link:

Has someone ever gotten really violent with you or threatened you in a way that made you feel unsafe, like they were going to find your home? So much so that you were afraid for your life? What did you do afterwards? Did it stay with you?

Asked by Axlrose13 about 10 years ago

I think a similar question has been asked before. I haven't dealt with anyone physically violent before, but I deal with a lot of verbally abusive people. I can deal with sly remarks and swearing, but when people say things like "you should be shot" that really sticks with me. It's especially chilling when someone I haven't even ticketed feels the need to tell me that I don't deserve to live, or that something should happen to my family. I don't know if they are saying it for a reaction, but some people just take it too far.

There's not much you can really do afterward. If I felt like I was in danger I would call for a police officer to attend, but I've luckily never been in that type of situation. It's hard for it not to stick with you, at least at first. I guess you just get used to it.

Do you have "favorite spots" you go to where you know people always park illegally?

Asked by Miriam over 10 years ago

There are areas I visit more than others. I wouldn't call them "favourite spots" but they are definitely frequented by more people on a daily basis. Places near shopping centers, hospitals and attractions are always good to check just to ensure they don't get overly congested and unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists.

I don't understand. You say you don't get paid on commission, but you also say "We pay our own salaries with the revenue we make from issuing parking tickets." Isn't that a contradiction?

Asked by Sambo Z. over 10 years ago

We don't get a commision on the individual tickets we give out. We also do not rely on tax payers to pay our salaries. The Parking Enforcement Unit itself can pay its own employees based on the revenue it brings in from tickets given out as a whole. 

How do you enter in the vehicle info? Is it scanned in or do you manually key it in?

Asked by jl about 10 years ago

We manually have to key in the information. License plate, make of the vehicle, and the val tag expiry are all entered this way.

Do you ticket for breaking the general "3 hour parking limit law" for anywhere in Toronto? Seems unfair since most streets do not post these signs. especially in residential areas where permits or pay parking are not required.

Asked by Torres about 10 years ago

We do ticket for the the three hour bylaw. Signs are posted at the city limits and state that everywhere in Toronto has a three hour parking maximum. The bylaw itself is only enforced by complaint and can only be enforced if someone that lives on the street calls in. I realize there are no signs on these streets but the bylaw is city wide and is stated at the entrances to the city, and therefore signs are not required. If you find yourself getting a lot of these tickets maybe it's a good idea to meet up with your neighbours and maybe see what can we done in the future.

what time do you go on duty

Asked by Michael over 10 years ago

Parking Enforcement Officers have a set schedule. Some work monday to friday and work the same hours every day. Others work shift work which includes a variety of shifts including days, evenings and weekends. Each shift is worked for 7 straight days followed by a set amount of days off and then the next type of shift begins for another 7 days, and so on. No matter what time of day, there are always PEOs patrolling the city streets.

Everyone on my street got a ticket for parking on the wrong side of the street at 7am on a switch over day. we don't needpermits to park on the street. when I informed the PEO about the 12pm grace period to move our cars he said tough luck. Thoughts

Asked by Torres about 10 years ago

Switchover streets can be complicated. The unit policy as of now does not state that we have to wait until noon. Last time I checked (I don't have many switch over streets where I work), I thought that the grace period was until 9 am. I would call to confirm this with the area supervisor for the division you live in. The people who have no permit at all would be ticketed right away, but those with valid permits are to be given a grace period. 7 am seems a little early to be doing switchover, but I could be wrong. Call in and get a supervisor to confirm and take down their name for future reference in case it happens again.

Hi I was wondering what the educational prerequisites are to become a meter maid ? Is a high school diploma or education required ? Or can pretty much anyone apply for the job ?
Thank you

Asked by Newbie almost 8 years ago


What are the duties and responsibilities of your position? What are the skills and abilities required of successful applicant?

Asked by ash almost 8 years ago


what Experience, education, and training is required?, desirable personality traits, general working conditions, and lastly most and least enjoyable aspects of the job

Asked by ash almost 8 years ago


what is the starting salary

Asked by pppp almost 8 years ago


Is a metermaid allowed to stay by a car till the money expires

Asked by Jake over 9 years ago


I really want to persue a career as a meter maid.....Can you just tell me what i would have to do to become one i.e who i should call, what course i might have to take?

Asked by MF almost 10 years ago


Can a meter maid give me a double parking ticket while I'm in the car and not give me the ticket afterwards?

Asked by Nel over 9 years ago


Legitimate question- how does the meter work? Like how does it know I'm the one who's parked and paid, and that its not the neighboring car that hasn't? since we only out in cash for the time, it takes no info on the car so how does the officer know

Asked by Niagra over 9 years ago


I drive my car everyday to work. Today it didn't start but I had to go to work. The street sweeper passes on the side my car is today. I put a sign on the drivers window saying the vehicle doesn't work. Will he/she still give me a ticket?

Asked by Zurdo almost 7 years ago


How do I find a meter maid's name through their badge number because i can't read their signature. I would like to file a complaint for an issued ticket and would like to state her name in the aformentioned ticket issued. Thanks.

Asked by Jared Feinstein almost 10 years ago


How much does the city make from parking tickets compared to how much they make from street parking payments?

Asked by Dave about 9 years ago


How do meter maids keep track of parked cars on a two hour zone in san francisco

Asked by nicoya177 over 8 years ago


How does a meter maid know when a car has been parked in permit areas after the posted time limit (typically 1 to 2 hours) if you don't have a permit.

Asked by Nicoya177 over 9 years ago


Do you all typically work when there is a snow/ice warning/watch? I really want to leave my car in one place today (which is in front of a meter) because it is snowing and there freezing rain outside in Wilmington, DE.

Thank you,
Ben G.

Asked by Ben G over 9 years ago


I received a parking ticket for my "wheels turned incorrectly"...My car was in the spot and not too close to either car in front or behind me...Please tell me what the hell just happened..

Asked by Kind of pissed about 9 years ago


Can meter maids tell if license plates like saskatchewan plates without stickers are expired or stolen

Asked by Dave over 9 years ago


I called the city of Toronto Parking people to ask what methods are used to mark tires. He told me chalking, noting the location of the valve and a third method of which he didn't know. Is there a third method if so what is it?

Asked by doneworking almost 10 years ago


Hi I'm interested in becoming a meter-maid. Can you tell me how long the training was for this position and if you had on the job training as well?

Asked by ChristineR. over 9 years ago


Today I attempted to drive away from receiving a parking ticket in Dundas ON because my understanding is if it hasn't been put it on the vehicle I am not obligated to pay it. The officer threatened to write me a ticket for $5000. Is this real?

Asked by KV over 9 years ago


Do you have to have a Driver's license??

Asked by Karen almost 8 years ago


I recently received a ticket for displaying a for sale sign in my window of my car. This is utterly ridiculous. To some people $15 might not be alot but to someone who is disabled and on a fixed income it is alot. How do I fight this ???

Asked by cher2014 over 9 years ago


Can a meter maid issue a parking ticket to a cop?

Asked by EricCukier over 7 years ago


Hey, I have a technical question. I start working as a parking enforcement officer next week, and I'm getting a pouch for my belt to carry ticket slips in. Can you tell me the Length and Width of the citation slips so I know which size pouch to get?

Asked by Colton B almost 10 years ago


Are you legally allowed to touch someone's car? What if they accused you of damaging their property ?

Asked by Mitch almost 7 years ago


I got an invitation to park under a professionally modified sign that read, "pkg all times". This was a 1 car segment. The 1st sign to support the modified 2nd wasn't visible to smone that doesn't know the area. This isn't life threatng but costly

Asked by Lola about 9 years ago


Are Meter Maids trained to report not so perfect signs?

Asked by Lola about 9 years ago


How do i apply for a job as a meter made

Asked by CARMEN Brito over 6 years ago


Do Meter Maids have quotas?

Asked by Lola about 9 years ago


I want to apply for a job as a meter made in San Jose Caifornia how do i go about it?

Asked by CARMEN Brito over 6 years ago


Okay, so my boyfriend recently got into a fight with his sisters boyfriend and the cops were called. He has to go to court Monday. What are the odds of him going to jail. Please help..

Asked by G.H over 8 years ago


My bad wrong person to ask haha

Asked by G.H over 8 years ago


I received a meter ticket and the meter person wrote 747 and i took picture with my i phone with time and date which was 733 - i plead not uilty and called court and I was advise that the meter person changed the time Is that legal?

Asked by Kathy about 10 years ago


can a meter made run your license tag without having probable case to do so

Asked by britt about 9 years ago


I 'm the victim of unwarranted harassment. It's the 2nd time I've been wrongly charged of parking in a permit zone where no sign is posted. The charge is always dropped but this time they said I was parked a totally incorrect street.How to stop this?

Asked by Tom over 8 years ago


I went down a street where a removable do not enter sign was placed by a school, but it was after school hours no children around. A maid came along as I got to the end and shooed me back but appeared to record my license - could I get sent a ticket?

Asked by christy over 8 years ago


If I pay my registration online do meter maids know

Asked by Jennifer almost 8 years ago